Sermon from our Red Deer Church – All Systems Go Part 3 – Rich Adamkewicz
Really grateful that the leadership has allowed me you to share the word today, and that I have this opportunity also to talk to you a little bit about where I just came back from. We were on a mission trip to Jamaica, I know it sounds glamorous but we did do work, believe me. But I just want to thank everybody who had a part in getting me there, I want to thank the church and the each and every one of you for your prayers and for anything else that you did to help me get there; God really did work in our entire team. Dwayne give us a big wave or… Dwayne Hillman, not only a part of our congregation, but he also heads up… Impact the World global missions, and friends and supporters of Generations Church. Generations Church is the church in Jamaica in Mandeville that we went down to there, but we didn’t just participate in the church down there, there was a number of different missions that we did. I just want to touch on a couple of things that we did just to share with you, but we were there for 10 days and we stayed in a camp called the Moorlands Camp, fantastic place, it’s a Christian camp, it’s been running for literally decades now, the facility is fantastic, Christian-operated. The people who are the directors of the camp right now are actually the pastors of Generations Church. And I want to tell you, it’s so amazing of what God can do for us, because we have so many parallels between that church and our church here. Their vision is to love God and love people, and our vision – love God, love others and serve. There is so many things they’re doing, they have a fantastic clothing ministry there, we have a fantastic clothing ministry here; they have a great food bank that they run to provide for people that can’t provide food for themselves, we also have the exact same thing.
It’s so cool to see what God can do for us and where God will place us and the situations God will put us in, so if we can get the… Anyway, God was doing some work there, and for myself God… for the last two weeks I think I’ve been going through a battle. When God is working in our lives and things are happening and God is moving stuff in your lives, the enemy is going to come up against you, there’s going to be a storm that comes up against you, there’s going to be a battle that comes up against you. It might seem small, it might seem like it’s nothing, that “Ugh, what a bad day I’ve been having,” but when God is doing good things in your life the enemy wants to push you back. Last week Rob… where’s Rob? Rob is also one of our deacons. Rob shared with us about knowing God, choosing God and reflecting on God, and this week I want to look at Psalm 91, and Psalm 91 I didn’t know until actually about five minutes ago I think why God is putting this on my heart, but it’s the trials that I’ve been through in this last week, and I just really feel like there’s a lot of people out there right now that have had something up against themselves. So Psalm 91, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the most high will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” You see, this is coming from the point of God and we live in the world, there’s a difference there. So we’re going to look at a couple of things today, we’re going to look at some of the words in there, we’re going to look at ‘dwell’, we’re going to look at ‘shelter’, and we’re going to look at rest, because who doesn’t want rest? What does that look like to us in this world, rest, and what does it look like to God who’s supernatural, who created this world.
So the word ‘dwell’ in this, is it a dwelling, or is the dwelling place? Is it somewhere where you dwell? Is it where you live? So where do you say that you dwell? Does dwelling have to be a structure or a building? Does it have to be your home where you dwell? Some of us dwell in books, you find your peace in books, some people. I’m not sure I understand that but I know some people do that. Some people dwell in their children, some people find peace in their jobs, so you might say they dwell with their work. Some people dwell in social media, some people dwell in their spouse. So that’s ‘dwell’, dwelling. Let’s look at ‘shelter’ – what makes a shelter, and why do we need shelter? I’ve always been taught when I grew up in the north that there’s several things that you need if you get stuck in the bush – you need food, you need water and you need shelter; basic needs for survival. And it’s important when it’s minus 40 and you’re up in the bush and you’re stuck, you need those things. You find those things you’re probably going to be OK for a while. Looking at it from the Bible, perhaps we need food, water, shelter and maybe clothing, because of the whole apple thing, remember in the beginning of the Bible in the garden, I’m just saying. Maybe there was a time where we didn’t need clothing but now I appreciate everybody brought. So shelter is one of our basic needs, it protects us from the elements, it protects us from the world.
But there are different kinds of shelters, I’ve lived in many different kinds of shelters in the past, and it really depends on where you live in the world as to what kind of a shelter you need; but you can live in just about anything. Picture this, are you ready? A good-sized house, it’s solid, it’s got a nice roof, and you just bought the best shingles. Strong front door, one of those big front doors where when you see the house you’re like, “Man, I want to see what’s inside that house.” Now picture this – tin walls, just tin, leaned up against each other, a tin roof, and a piece of wood that you’d probably throw away but now that piece of wood is your door. It doesn’t sound so great here, does it? But you know what? In some parts of the world that might be the best house ever because they get rain, and a lot of it. Now picture this, another kind of shelter, a mud house, mud walls, a thatched roof, maybe a good door. It doesn’t sound good here, but I’ve been to some places where they didn’t have a lot of lumber but they had a lot of clay and they had a lot of mud and you can build a very solid structure, a very solid shelter with whatever you have. Mobile home – one of the best places I lived when we lived in the north; loved our mobile home. People call them mobile homes now, they’re trailers, if you put something on wheels it’s a trailer. We owned a trailer and I loved it, it was solid, solid, and mouse-proof, but that took some work and that’s another story.
A home or a shelter is a place of protection, a place of sanctuary, safety, and for some it’s an escape. A shelter is not just four walls where you put your head down at night, it’s also where you put your heart, your feelings. Home just isn’t where you hang your hat. For some, physical safety from others, or even from yourself is your home where you find shelter. So, where do you find rest? Think about that; where is it that you find rest? And I know this can be a very difficult thing because my wife and I, we have three kids, we work, this home with our four walls sometimes closes in on us. So, where do you find rest? Where is your safety? Where is your escape? Maybe it’s where you dwell. So, if it is, where is it that you’re dwelling? Where do you dwell? Is it really a building that you dwell in? If it is, why did you find shelter there? Why do you go to books to find shelter? Why do you go to that room in your home to find shelter? And is there safety, is there safety in your shelter? Or does it feel like it’s an escape?
I want us to picture these houses again that I spoke about. Remember the good-sized house, it’s nice and solid, it’s got the good shingles, it feels so safe. That house can fall in this world. See Mexico this week, and the earthquakes coming through there in the last couple weeks? Solid buildings with solid walls and good roofs are just crumbling to the ground. Look at the young school-aged child, a new school, so excited, first day of school comes home, was bullied all day long. It’s not safety, that person’s walls crumble down. Tin walls and a tin roof, this is good, it’s going to keep us dry. But when you add 30, 45 degree weather and you don’t have air in there, and you don’t have water, it’s a sauna it’s like an oven, it’s not safe, people die in those all the time. What about the happy couple? You see them at church, you see them on the street and they’re always so happy, and then you just feel good after you’ve talked to them, after you shake their hand it’s like the spirit of God is leaping into you because they’re just so happy. But every day they’re struggling to make ends meet. Let’s look at mud walls like, I don’t mean like Alberta mud walls, lame and flat. Let’s talk mud walls, solid I had seen last week in Jamaica, solid walls made from mud that looked like concrete. Maybe they make you feel safe, but what’s happened in the south of North America and South America this last two weeks? Hurricanes; not just one but several, and again now. And what do they do? They flatten everything in their path. That once safe solid structure shelter is now gone. What about the young mother expecting a child? This is such a glorious, gorgeous time in a person’s life. What is she thinking of? “Who’s the father? What do I do now? Can I do this on my own? Do I look into adoption or abortion?”
These are things that are happening in our world today. And that mobile home, that home that I loved so much which is good and solid, I put every darn block underneath that trailer almost by myself, that was a trying day. In fact, at the end of that day I had tears in my eyes because I had nothing left in me to give; nothing. I remember that day with Randy. Actually it’s hard to even talk about it. Every block I would jack up one side, put the block under, then I’d have to go all the way over to the other with the jack, hand-jack it up, put the block under, and I did that entire trailer. How long is a trailer? 60 feet long or so? It was a day. Tornado comes through, and we see this every year on the news, for some reason they have a hot spot for mobile parks. But they come and they devastate. Those shelters that were once safe, that once felt great to have a home, to have a life, to have safety, gone. You see, this isn’t the story of the three little pigs, this is our story in Red Deer in Central Alberta. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in North America or you’re in Jamaica, it does not matter where you live in this world.
So, where do you dwell? This isn’t a question of what kind of house you live in or what kind of house you’re going to get out of here and find something stronger and bigger. But who will you choose to live in you. The things of this world are of this world, our home, our clothing, our food, sometimes our water. We don’t know sometimes where that stuff is coming from. We need to understand where we can find shelter, where we can be safe when the storms rise up. So, whom do we find shelter in, find security in, be restful in? And that rest just sounds so nice. So, what is your storm today? What is it that is unsafe for you? Is it something at school, somebody at school? Is it at work, one particular person at work? It seems like everybody has one of those, right? Maybe it’s that you feel lonely, you’re having a hard time at home, you’re not connecting with your children or with your spouse.
I want to share my storm and what that looks like. My storm looks like selfishness, and I’m being honest here. I have struggled in this world for years. I have scars from battle, and unfortunately most people in my life that I’m close to also have been scarred from my battle. For me it’s not just selfishness, but it’s what grows from this need. For a long time I didn’t even recognize why I was fighting, I was frustrated, I was hurt, I was sensitive to things, I could not understand; I didn’t even know I was in battle. But the point is that we all have a battle, something in your life that you keep coming up against, and you know what I’m talking about. It’s different for each one of us, you’ve been through something. I was struggling constantly, I would try and then I would try again and then I’d make promises and then I would fail and then I would try again and would fail, and I would hurt people and I would be hurt myself; it was exhausting. How many people have been exhausted from battles they’ve been through in their lives? You can look back and you can see in your life storms that you’ve gone through, things that you’ve struggled through that we’re exhausting. I found shelter in myself, and I was dwelling in the world. I was living in that tin shack in the middle of a winter storm, and I kept going back to it over and over again, propping the door up, putting the roof back on, propping up a new wall; that was me.
The answer is not rebuilding your shelter so you can get back in. There’s knowing the storm that you’re going through, and there is knowing why you’re in battle to begin with. I want to read you something about battle, and I really do believe that this is happening right now in our country in Red Deer. Pastor Chuck actually sent this quote out, so there’s probably a number of you that have heard this, but I think that this is really fitting for our time and really fitting for today. This is from Discipleship on the Edge: An Expository Journey Through the Book of Revelations by Darrell W Johnson – the dragon is on a desperate rampage, in his death throes he is unleashing what evil is left. The suffering of the Church and the world is not a sign of Satan’s victory it is a sign of his realization of defeat. He does not want the child of Bethlehem to be king. If he cannot kill the child, he at least wants to keep the child in the manger. If we keep him in the manger, then there is and no danger. But the dragon knows that the child left the manger and is on the throne. Since he cannot get the child, the dragon goes after what the is dearest to the child – he goes after the woman, he goes after the people of God, he goes after the woman’s offspring. It says in John 12:17, “Keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” You see, the enemy is where you are dwelling in this world. Since he cannot get the child, the dragon goes after what is dearest to the child; that’s you, you are what is dearest to Jesus. And that’s true for each and every one of you. If you’ve ever had doubt in your life about whether or not Jesus loves you, or maybe you’ve never had a father, or the father that you’ve had wasn’t the father you wished that he was. Jesus loves you and you are what is dearest to him.
Is there safety in your shelter? Where you choose to dwell day in and day out, is there rest? Rest from the dragon in your life, the battle that you are struggling with. This is easy stuff, because there’s God and there’s Satan, the enemy. You can call him whatever you want, the devil, the enemy, whatever it is. But if there is God and you believe in God, there is an enemy, there is the devil. God is good, and Satan is very not good. Let’s look at Psalm 91, it’s a very long passage so there’s going to be parts that I’m going to read through and parts that I’m not. Psalm 91, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the most high will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord he is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” That right there sounds like rest. “Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.” The fowler’s snare, have you ever been snared up? “You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand but it will not come near you. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. They will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” How many here have walked through a riverbank? It’s rocky. Angels are going to pick you up so you don’t even feel those stones, so you don’t stumble is what it’s saying, that you don’t have to worry because worrying is not a part of God. God did not ask us to worry in fact, he says the very opposite. “Because he loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue him. I will protect him for he acknowledges my name, he will call on me, and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him with long life, I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
It sounds like safety there – “I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.” “Honor him” – the creator of the world wants to honor you; think about that, if you have to point to yourself, he wants to honor you. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in this world or where you’re at now, he wants to honor you the way you are. The creator of this world wants each one of you to dwell, to live in him. He wants you to take shelter in him, and then you will rest. We live in this world amongst world views, public policy, physical disasters, we even live with hurts others have brought upon us, and those hurts that we may have caused others, sometimes we do things to hurt ourselves. And I can’t change the fact that there are going to be many battles ahead of me; I know that. I know that even though this has been a tough week for me and I know that God’s been on by my side and that I’ve struggled and that I have come up against some stuff this last two weeks where I have had to dig deep. But I can’t change that, I can’t change that there’s going to be more battles, more things thrown at me than I can imagine. But there are some things that I do know for sure, and I want to share that. You and I have been given free will, that means we have the choice, God has given us, when he created us he gave us the ability to choose. I choose Jesus Christ, to dwell in his shelter. “So as I declare the Lord is my refuge and you make the most high your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent because he loves you says the Lord, I will rescue him.”
Who feels like they’ve needed to be rescued in the past, anybody? More than once for me. How many people feel like they might need to be rescued today? Did you know that there are people out there that they don’t even know that they need to be rescued? Their fingertips are just above the water, their breath is held, and they go through this daily. Their shelter where they dwell, it’s not safe, it might be comfortable. What happens, they were struggling, they needed some help and it was not received, they did not receive it. The next day it was tough, maybe a year passed and that struggle slowly turned into a problem, and then what happens to that problem? It turns into a battle, a storm. We get so comfortable doing the things on our own, not reaching out, not receiving that slowly we don’t even realize that we are the ones with our fingertips just above the, water scared to ask for help, scared to receive the help, scared that when we open our mouths to cry for help that our lungs will fill up with water. We need to reach out before we can’t, we need to reach out to others. You don’t know what my battle is today, you don’t know what your friend is going through either that’s sitting next to you, across from you, who’s not here today. Maybe you’re one of the ones with your fingertips just above the water, but maybe you’re the one who’s just accepted Jesus in your life because you’re tired of being unsafe and not protected. You’ve not only won your last battle, but you have many scars from battle and you’re standing in Jesus name. You lift your worries up to God, you cast out any doubt you may have – it sounds good, doesn’t it? We’re going to leave here today and we’re going to feel good about this, right, because Christians are perfect, aren’t they? Are we perfect? No, we’re not perfect. The Bible is through and through with people who are not perfect that God used. All I know is that in the Bible there are some people who killed Christians, and I have never done that, so I’m doing pretty good. I recommend everybody do as good as that. Christians are not perfect, we’re sinful just the same as everybody. We choose Jesus Christ as our Lord and our Savior despite what this world or the people in it throw at us, we can find rest in the Lord.
So we have a couple more things that I want to talk to you about. One is that don’t keep Jesus to yourself, don’t keep Jesus Christ in the manger because the enemy is out there, your storms are out there, and they’re going to come up against you. Don’t keep Jesus Christ locked up in this building, this building is not the Church, this is just a building with four walls, well we’re weird shaped, we probably have 45 walls I don’t know, this building has a lot of walls, but it is just a structure; it is not your shelter, your shelter in Jesus Christ. So don’t leave Jesus locked up in here because the church is each and every one of you, each and every one of you that came today, you came for a reason, something in your life brought you here, it was not a mistake. I don’t know what that is, but you’re here for a reason, and you are the church. Jesus said in these couple verses here, “He will call on me and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him with long life, I will satisfy him and show him salvation” Jesus wants to satisfy you, how cool is that? There’s people out there that are… some people are probably trying to compete for your time, what are you going to get out of that? Here Jesus, he just wants you to go to him, be with him, have him in you, and he’s going to satisfy you, all your needs. I don’t know if your need is a big house, I don’t know if your need is to have a new car, it might be, God can do that. But I know that one of our greatest needs is first to have Jesus in your life.
So I need to encourage you today, I want you to step out this week, I want you to discover your dwelling place, your actual dwelling place. I know for some people it could even be the bathroom, because you can lock the door in the house and the kids can’t get in, that’s one of the safest places in the house to get away from the kids, is the bathroom. But I want you to find, I want you to discover your dwelling place, and you say that it’s in Jesus Christ. I want you to be able to say that your dwelling place comes from Jesus, I want you to believe it this week. Do something that shows to yourself, not anybody else, to yourself that you believe this, that you believe that Jesus is your dwelling place, that you can dwell on Jesus. Because if you don’t get up and do something for yourself, and do something different you’re just going to be sitting back here next Sunday with your worries and your storm your battles; we have to do something different. So what does that look like, what can you do different?
Did you know that you can develop your relationship with Jesus, that you can develop it over time. And over time as you develop and you communicate with Jesus, you will grow and you will find that when that storm comes you can just say, “Lord, take this storm.” I wasn’t going to share this story, but I’m going to share it anyway. So there’s actually only two people here that know about the story, Dewayne and Randy, but some of the battles that I’ve been facing, a week ago today actually or yesterday, was coming back from Jamaica. We had such a powerful time there in the Word of God I got up every morning early to try to catch the sunrise so I could pray and write in my journal and be with God, and I’d pray and talk about to Jesus what I’ve done; it was such a great time for me. But there was challenges throughout that whole week that I had to go through – VBS, I don’t do Bible school, I have never been to Bible School, I’ve never done a story for the kids at Bible School, I had to do two stories that week. And we had a lot of kids there – 25 one day, 70 another day, 50 another day, 25 another day, that’s a lot of kids, it was fantastic. But I don’t do it, but I prayed about it, and God just gave me a story and it just went off, and it went fantastic. But there are a few other things that week that I came up against, some of it I didn’t even share with anybody because I gave it to God and I asked God to help me deal with it. But on the way home, after this wonderful week on a mission, the enemy came right up against me, not just up against me but he sat right next to me on the plane, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with personally. I prayed the entire flight. The enemy got a hold of me, and there’s only a few times in my life where I’ve wanted to punch somebody in the face, serious, and I had to pray about that.
I studied the Bible next to this person. This person was so vulgar and rude to me, all his anger was directed at me, there were people around us who were uncomfortable. And I sat there, and I listened to him and I prayed in my head, and I kept it in. The enemy came up against me, and after this glorious week with Jesus the last thing that I wanted was to lose it, to lose all that that he’s done in me, and I dug deep, deeper than I ever have. And Dwayne will attest to this, it was absolutely ridiculous. But I stepped out in prayer, and you can too, that is something you can do this week; you can step out in prayer. I know you’re busy, you don’t have time for it. You know what, you do not have to pencil it into your schedule, you sit on the side of your bed and instead of worrying about your aches and pains you go “Thank you Jesus, I woke up. Thank you Jesus I’m breathing, thank you Jesus that I have a warm shower in about five minutes and coffee.” You can pray in everything, you need to step out in prayer. Once you start stepping out in prayer for every little thing, you’re going to start communicating with God, you’re going to start talking to them about your life. Did you know that my left knee gives me so much pain constantly that sometimes I can hardly walk? but every step I take I thank Jesus, “Thank you Jesus, I can walk, thank you I still have a knee.” Where I work in the hospital, “Thank you Jesus, I have a leg.” And I know he can heal me – it may not be how I see healing, but I know it could happen.
We need to study the word, that means the Bible. You need to dust off your Bible, you need to put it on your counter in your kitchen or on your kitchen table, just keep it there. Even if you don’t read it for the first year keep it out because God wants you to read it, he wants you to have a relationship with him, he wants you to know him intimately, you, each one of you. You can’t do it if you don’t read it; that’s easy. He also wants you to spend time with other Christians. I’m not saying you don’t spend time with people that don’t go to church, but you need to connect with people that do, you need to pray with them, you need to talk about the Lord with them. I know that there are people in this church that get together and go for coffee together and they have a wonderful time, but when you get together to go for coffee, before you leave are you asking if there’s anything they need prayer for? Is your conversation directed toward God and what God is doing in your life or the struggles that you’re having so that that person who you go to church with can help you?
I prayed with people this week that I didn’t know. Myself and another lady from Red Deer that was on this mission, we walked through a park in Mandeville, Jamaica, and there were people everywhere and we pray, I was one of those guys. I just put my hand out while the guys are walking by, “How are you doing?” Shaking their hand, “We’re from Canada, we’re here on a mission. Can I pray for you? Do you know Jesus?” That was me, that was stepping out. And probably out of all the people we spoke to, probably half a dozen that I know, I know that it touched them. One guy, do you know what he did? He’s like, “Can I get a picture with you guys?” And I was like, “What?” We looked at each other like, “Really? Sure.” And you know what happened? It started to downpour, not like Alberta downpour, Jamaica downpour is different, it’s different; it rained in that park. And he was trying to get his phone out but he still wanted the picture, so the three of us were standing there in the pouring rain and he’s taking a picture because something touched him by what we prayed about, something touched his life. And something can touch your life, but you need to take the step, you need to do something different. You need to find your dwelling place, you need to find Jesus so that you can be safe, because you could do just about anything with Jesus. You can do anything with Jesus. The Lord is always there for us, and we need to reach up, and we need to call upon him. Thanks for listening.
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