February 4, 2024, Message by P. Kevin Clancey

All right, we are going through. We’re going to be in Exodus 6 tonight. How about that? Exodus 6. What struck me as I was reading through this passage was just the repetition time and time again of the Great I am saying, “I will, I will, I will, I will, I will.” Moses thought he had this incredibly difficult task on his hand.

God spoke to Moses. Exodus 3, a burning bush talked, and Moses was convinced that that was significant. I wish people in our culture took more notice of burning bushes.

We see signs and wonders all the time. There are more signs and wonders. There are more miracles. There are more amazing things happening in our day and age than ever happened, or at least ever been recorded in the history of the world. Pick up Michael Keener’s book on miracles. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Michael Keener, Craig Keener. Excuse me, Craig Keener. Craig Keener. Pick up Craig Keener’s book on miracles. It’s incredible. And yet our culture is kind of like eh. But Moses, he turns aside, right? It’s also very interesting.

Moses saw a bush burning that wasn’t being consumed. And the Bible says he turned aside to see what was going on. Then, the bush started talking. That’s what signs and wonders are not in and of themselves, the complete revelation.

The revelation comes when the sign and the wonder gets our attention to say, “What’s going on?” This has been not a new revelation, but kind of a, to me, about things that happen. Bodily manifestations, when the Holy Spirit shows up, people falling, or in my case, when I shake.

I always wondered, what are you supposed to do with that? What are you supposed to do with that? I was never like, ‘Oh, that’s all fake,’ or ‘That’s all psychosomatic and all that.’ It’s like, I pastored a church where I had a bunch of conservative evangelical Christians who had never fallen in their lives, and we were laying hands on them, and they were dropping like flies. Not all of them. Some of them just stood up perfectly fine.

And there became this whole thing, it’s like, ‘Well, who’s more Christian? The ones who stand, who don’t stand?’

It’s like, and people can’t help making those kind of judgments, and, you know, we’ve just got to get beyond that and say, that’s not the point. That’s not the point. Here’s the point. When stuff is happening, here’s what it is, and here’s what’s been the clarifying thing for me. The stuff, in and of itself, is not the deal. It’s an invitation. It’s an invitation. A bush on fire not being consumed is meaningless. If Moses just walks by and goes, ‘Well, that’s something you don’t see every day.’

But the Bible says, he stopped, he turned aside, and he accepted the invitation. There were probably many times in his life he said, “I should have never talked to that bush.” But he did.

And so, whenever something’s happening around you or in you, that in and of itself is not the point. The point is, God’s trying to get your attention. Turn into the thing and say, “What are you saying, God? What are you doing, God? What are you teaching me, God? What do you want to do here in me?”

What do you want to say here to me? Accept the invitation. Moses accepted the invitation from the great I Am. That’s where he learned that El Shaddai was Yahweh. That’s where he learned that God Almighty, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was identified as El Shaddai, God Almighty.

Now, He gets a new name, and it’s the name that will be known throughout all generations: the great I am, Yahweh, or as transliterated in your Old Testament, the Lord in all caps. The LORD, El Shaddai, now is Yahweh. Doesn’t mean He ceases to be God Almighty. He’s still God Almighty, but He’s not El Shaddai. El Shaddai is God Almighty. Yahweh is a step in a deeper direction.

Alright, I AM, I AM the God of your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I am El Shaddai, but now I am the God who is always present and always active. You see, El Shaddai can be a distant God. El Shaddai, the deist, can have El Shaddai. The deist can have God Almighty. He wound up the universe. In fact, naturalistic science is El Shaddai. Naturalistic scientism is El Shaddai. The universe is mechanistic. It’s wound up. It’s set into motion either by cosmic accident or by great design, but God is at a distance.

God set it up. He set it in motion. It’s working itself out. It’s all determined. It’s just going on. It’s on its course as the great designer and planner planned it. But that could be El Shaddai. But that can’t be Yahweh. No, Yahweh’s a meddler. Yahweh’s in history. I am. I’m here. I’m present. I’m active. I’m burning a bush. I’m talking to you. I heard the groanings of my people in Egypt. I’m gonna do something against the most powerful man on the earth at this time and the most powerful army on the earth at this time.

I’m gonna do something that 3,000 years later, in Paulsbo, Yumping Yemeni, that little Norwegian immigrant capital of the Pacific Northwest, they’re going to be talking about it 3,000 years later because I am the great I AM.

I’m an interfering God. I’m a God who will mess with you. I’m a God who will answer prayer. I’m a God who will show up in unexpected ways. I’m a God who will take you out of your comfort zone. And I’m a God who makes promises and then acts in history to make sure those covenant promises are kept.

And I will use less than perfect people. I will use Judah who sleeps with his daughter-in-law. And my son will come from that line. I’ll use Abraham who gives his wife away twice, brave man that he is.

And I’ll get his wife back and give him cattle to spare. I’ll use Jacob, the conniver, the manipulator, the schemer. I’ll use Joseph, the prisoner, the falsely accused, the dungeon dweller. I’ll use Samson, the biggest goofball that ever was. I’ll use a Christian persecuting Paul. I’ll use a put-your-foot-in-the-mouth Peter. I’ll use a murdering David. And I’ll use you because I’m the great I am to keep my covenant promises and to accomplish my purposes.

You know, people say, ‘I want to be used by God.’ No problem, guaranteed, you’ll be used by God. Here’s a better prayer.

I’m going to give you a better prayer than God used me. God used me as a vessel of honor, not a vessel of wrath. Include that, that’s better. Just letting you know, God will use every life because he’s the great I am.

Now, here’s what the great I am. Moses gets this assignment, and Moses is probably overwhelmed with the assignment, but here’s what the great I AM says. All right, Exodus 5:22-6:9. You thought, oh, he’s not gonna read the Bible tonight, but here we go.

All right, then Moses went back to the Lord and protested, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people, and you’ve done nothing to rescue them.”

22 Then Moses went back to the Lord and protested, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? 23 Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!” (Exodus 5:22-23, NLT)

All right, Moses is us, baby. Moses is us. “God, why haven’t you done anything? I hate traffic. My life is so hard.” Their life was hard, yours isn’t. It might be, I don’t know what you’re going through. All right, mine isn’t.

All right, when I complain, it isn’t because I’m oppressed as a slave in Egypt. That’s all I’m saying.

Then the Lord told Moses, “Listen to this. Now you see what I’m going to do. Now you see what I will do to Pharaoh. When he feels the force of my strong hand, he’ll let the people go. In fact, he’ll force them to leave the land.”

And God said to Moses, “I’m Yahweh, the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El Shaddai, God Almighty, but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them, and I reaffirmed my covenant with them. Under its terms, I promised to give them the land of Canaan where they were living as foreigners. You can be sure that I’ve heard the groans of the people of Israel who are now slaves to the Egyptians, and I am well aware of my covenant with them.

Therefore, say to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord. I’ll free you from the oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. I will bring you into the land I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord.’”

1 Then the Lord told Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. When he feels the force of my strong hand, he will let the people go. In fact, he will force them to leave his land!” 2 And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh—‘the Lord .’ 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty’ —but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them. 4 And I reaffirmed my covenant with them. Under its terms, I promised to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners. 5 You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them. 6 “Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the Lord . I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. 7 I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. 8 I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord !’” (Exodus 6:1-8, NLT)

Didn’t that just make your blood run? Man, that’s an exciting piece of scripture, isn’t it? Don’t give me that “meh.” Come on. Wake up. Turn to somebody next to you and say, “Man, that’s awesome. That’s just awesome. Did you hear what God said? Wow.”

So, Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they said, “meh.” They refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery.

May the words of my mouth, the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight.

14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord , my rock and my redeemer. (Psalms 19:14, NLT)

Lord, our rock, our strength, and our redeemer. God says, “I’ll reveal myself with my power. Moses, brace yourself, just like last week with Job. Brace yourself. Moses, brace yourself. you’re about to see something that’s going to blow the socks off the world for 3,000 years. you’re about to see the most powerful nation in the world humbled and brought to its knees by the hand of Almighty God. Not only will Pharaoh let you go, he’ll force you to go. He’ll beg you to go.”

They will give you all their money and all… all their jewelry, all their possessions to go. And you will know, and they will know, that their puny little gods in Egypt, including Pharaoh himself and his son, are nothing compared to the great I Am.

And Israel, I have made a promise that I’m going to give you a land, and out of all the gods in all these regions and all these nations, the one true God, the great I Am, will be your God and I will be your people.

And Israel goes, eh, show me.

God says, “I will. I will.” God’s showdown with Pharaoh has begun. God’s revelation comes with power. Paul says to the Corinthians, “I did not come to you with wise words.” And we think, oh my goodness, Paul came with nothing but wise words. “I did not come to you with $300 tennis shoes and skinny jeans and a haircut with product in it. All right?”

I had a couple one time. I paid $250 to go buy new clothes. They didn’t like my wardrobe. They thought I dressed too slovenly. And they said, “you know what makes a difference?”

Like, you know what? I am coming to you with Walmart flannels and New Balance. That’s what you get. But I’ll tell you what, the Spirit of God lives in me. the Spirit of God lives in you, too.

Paul came to the Corinthians and he came with a demonstration of God’s power. Oh, I wish America. Oh, I wish the West would wake up from its slumber since the Enlightenment when we have been over-impressed with wise words and under-impressed with power.

It’s not that words are unimportant. It’s not that the Bible is unimportant.

The Bible is the Word of God. The Bible contains lots of wise words, but the Bible is a book of power. It is a book of the demonstration of God’s power. And the power that God talks about in the Bible is a power that is still active today.

The great I am is not the great I was and the great I will be. He’s not changed. He still demonstrates His power. So, turn into it like Moses turned into the bush.

When God does a healing, when God does a miracle, when God does a deliverance, when God does a manifestation, when God lands on somebody and their bodies start to move and things start to happen, turn into those things and say, “Oh God, you’re a God of power. Oh God, you’re the great I am.” What’s He up to? What are you up to? I want to know. I want the more. I want that last song, “more love, more power, more of you in my life.”

If you think you’ve got all of God because you’ve got a Bible, you’re wrong. Listen. Pick up this book and read it. I mean, I just read these verses in chapter 6. And man, this thing started, right? Right? This thing. It’s alive. It’s got electricity in it. There’s fire in this book. It’s supposed to lead you into an encounter.

God is the God of power. “I did not come to you,” says Paul in Corinthians. We read 1 and 2 Corinthians. There are a lot of wise words in there. But Paul says, “here’s the real thing.”

the Spirit showed up among you in demonstration of power. In demonstration of power. I’ll tell you the power of God. Not only does He heal the sick, I’ll tell you the real power of God. He still makes bad people good. God can make bad people good. Listen, I’ve been a pastor a long time. One of the things I’ve discovered, it’s hard for people to change, right? If it was easy to change, we’d have all changed. Every New Year’s resolution to be kept. None of us have a bad temper anymore.

None of us have cussed or swear. I actually, talk about the power of God. I had the foulest mouth ever as a high school boy. The neighbor mothers complained to my mom about my mouth. My best friend was a football player on a high school football team, and my mouth was embarrassing to him. Anybody ever hear of a high school football team? You know, sailors. I was worse than sailors, worse than the Navy. My best friend said, Clancy, you just talk, you got a foul mouth. I had a foul mouth.

I came to Jesus, and within two weeks, the power of God stopped me from cussing. I just stopped cussing and swearing, just stopped. I didn’t even try. I didn’t even say, “you know, as a Christian, I better, I probably shouldn’t do this anymore.” I just completely, I stopped cussing.

And up until I had children, I stopped cussing. And then I had to kind of relearn it all over again. It was harder the second time because I had them. It’s like, I mean, admit it, with them, sometimes there’s no other word that’ll work.

It’s like, what were you thinking? Huh, but you know, I’m still recovering from that one. But the power of God, the power of God over your mouth, he’ll change how you talk. He’ll change how you think. He changed how I watched movies. He changed how I treated people. He changed how I spoke to people. He turned me largely from a cut down, pick on, humorously tease, but always cross the line tease and hurt other people kind of person to, I think primarily one of my spiritual gifts is as an encourager.

He took me from a tear-people-down person to a build-people-up person. That’s power. And so, God will come in His power. He’ll reveal Himself in His power, because He’s the great I AM.

“I will reveal my power to Pharaoh. Pharaoh thinks he’s powerful. I will give him ten signs of my power that will destroy his arrogance and set my people free. I will give the gods, the small-g gods, the demonic powers behind Pharaoh, ten signs to show them Yahweh’s still on the throne. God versus the gods. Heavyweight fight. And it’s a blowout. Super Bowl’s coming up.”

Super Bowls have been exciting over the last 20 years, for the most part. The first ten years of Super Bowls, they were almost all blowouts. The most boring game of the year was the Super Bowl. Very few close games, all kind of blowouts. They’ve become exciting later.

But this Super Bowl, God against Pharaoh, God against the gods, read through Exodus, man, it’s a blowout. It’s not 9-to-1, it’s 10-to-zip. It’s even 11-to-zip, right, because there’s ten plagues.

Pharaoh lets them go after ten plagues, and then God says, “Oh, to add on to this, I’m going to destroy your army. I’m going to destroy your army so you can’t come and attack my people in the desert. You can’t attack anybody for a couple generations, because all you’ve got to do is recover now.”

You know what the Bible says? He says, “I’m not only doing this to show Israel I’m here. There’s already a missionary aspect, right? I’m doing this so the Egyptians know that I am God.”

You know, one of the first places that Christianity spread and is probably the oldest church now in the world? Do you know where that is located? Egypt. Egypt. Egypt has been a place where Christianity sank its roots and has never left. I believe the roots of that are right here. Egypt knows who God is.

“I’ll deliver you from slavery.” That’s good. Nobody wants to be a slave. It’s hard to be delivered from slavery because actually, there have to be two deliverances that take place. And American slaves discovered this, right?

There has to be the deliverance from physical slavery. And then, there has to be the deliverance from the mindset of slavery. There has to be deliverance from physical slavery. But then, there has to be the deliverance from the mindset that a lifetime of slavery has instilled.

Egypt, I mean Israel, spent 40 years in the desert unnecessarily because they were delivered very quickly from physical slavery. But when they came to the promised land and God said, “Remember how I destroyed the most powerful kingdom in the world? These Canaanite kingdoms are nothing compared to that kingdom.”

Now, you’re going to go in and conquer them. And we’ll get to it. We’re getting to numbers. We’ll get there. Might preach on it. Who knows? But the spies go into the land, right? And what do they come back and they say? Except for Caleb and Joshua, they say, ‘We’re grasshoppers. We’re slaves. We can’t do this.’

‘I will. I will. I will. I will, I will, I will,’ says Yahweh.

‘Oh, but we can’t. I will. Oh, we don’t know. I did before. Yeah, but what if you’re tricking us?’

‘All right, die in the desert.’

Die in the desert. Eat manna the rest of your life. Not bad tasting. I’ll bring the next generation in.

You know, when Christians, we have been delivered from slavery to sin. You know what that means? When we weren’t in Christ, we had to sin. Couldn’t help it. I just cussed. I had to cuss. Couldn’t help cussing.

I got delivered from that. I got great news for you. I got great news for you tonight. You don’t have to sin anymore.

You say, “Well, Kevin, nobody’s perfect. Nobody will be perfect until we get to heaven.”

Bible doesn’t say that. Best I know, Bible doesn’t say that. Show me where the Bible says that. I can say, my experience has taught me I have not yet run into the entirely sanctified person. Doesn’t mean it’s not possible. In fact, what my understanding is, the power of sin has been defeated. It’s the habit of sin that hasn’t. you’ve been delivered from the power, just not the mindset.

But dear ones, here’s the promise. Whether entire sanctification on this side of the grave is possible or not, that’s a theological debate.

What is not a theological debate is this: He will perfect the good work he has begun in us. Sinning is not your destiny. You have this unbreakable sin in your life. It is not your eternal destiny. God wins. You cannot lose if you do not quit.

Here’s why people leave the Christian faith. It’s exactly that. It is not because they’ve become intellectually convinced that atheism contains more truth than the gospel. They haven’t. That’s the end result. That’s their last argument.

Here’s where it starts: I couldn’t stop this or I didn’t want to stop this.

Why don’t you believe anymore?”

“you know what? It just doesn’t make any sense to me anymore.”

“Really? When did it stop making sense to you?”

“Oh, about a year after I started living with my girlfriend. Got it. About a year after I decided I wasn’t going to quit smoking pot. Got it.”

“Now, whether you quit smoking pot or not, whether you live with your girlfriend or not, you’re good as long as you admit it’s wrong and you’re working against it. But the minute you cave, that’s when your mind starts changing.

Your mind didn’t change first, and then you caved. Don’t tell me it did. you’re lying to me. I’ve never met one. I’ve seen lots of people who left, and it always started with rebellion. It never started with intellect. It ended with intellectual arguments, but it started with rebellion.

Listen, I know the struggle. I know the struggle. Walk it out honestly before God and your brothers and sisters in Christ, and you’ll be fine. you’ve been freed from the slavery of sin. God is freeing you from the mindset of sin.

You know who reinforces the mindset of sin? Somebody else you’ve been freed from, the devil. you’ve been freed from slavery to the devil. He’s no longer your master. Jesus is now your Lord. you’re no longer a slave to fear, you’re no longer a slave to sin, you’re no longer a slave to those lies. Those lies, those chains have been broken, those lies do not hold you anymore.

And one of the things we have to teach ourselves is, we have to train our mind with the Word of God so that we start believing the truth and stop believing the lies. This is why the Bible is so important. It retrains our mind. It gives us the mind of Christ.

We have a new mind, we have a new mindset, and we have to relearn what it means to be human.

I think I shared with you, I think last week, you know, as I used to recite that litany of terrible names about myself, and I had to come to the point where I had to say, “No, that’s a lie.” Guess what? The devil hasn’t quit. He still calls me names. Here’s the big difference. I don’t repeat them. I call them out. All right? I have this thing, I don’t know if everybody has this thing, I drop stuff.

Like I don’t have a good grip or something. I’m always dropping stuff, and I’m always knocking stuff on the ground. This has been an annoying thing, but now that my back hurts, it’s a really annoying thing.

If I see money on the ground, I used to always pick it up, right? You pick up money on the ground, free money. Now it’s like, yeah, I don’t know if that money’s worth the ibuprofen I’m going to have to take later tonight. Is that a quarter’s worth? How much does that ibuprofen cost?

And I just drop stuff.

Anybody else do that, or am I the only one? Okay, I’m the guy. I drop stuff, I knock stuff over. It just drives me nuts, and I’ll knock stuff over, and immediately I’ll drop something or knock it over, and I’ll just go, ‘you idiot. Numbskull, mini-hammer.’ It’s like, no, no, just drop stuff. Just drop stuff.

It is, at this point in my life, it would be the only redeemable thing about having a dog. Because if it’s food, problem solved. Problem solved. Dog’s got the food, so that’s, that’s no problem. All right.

If your grandkids are around and it’s money, no problem. Gobble that up, kid. That’s yours. All right. So, you are no longer a slave to the devil. Those lies are not true. They do not hold you. They do not bound you. If a devil ever got in, listen, there are two ways the devil attacks us: through agreement and invitation. The sad thing is that we can invite devils into our lives, but unfortunately, so can those who have authority over us as children.

So, you can get demonized, not by your own choice, but because some wicked uncle molested you, because somebody took you to a satanic ritual. The good news is, you can get rid of those guys. It’s not even that hard. The hard part is stop believing the lies. Once you stop believing the lies, the devils aren’t that hard to get rid of, because they’re holding on to the lies.

All right. If you renounce the lies, they’re pretty, they’re on a slippery slope. I mean, I’ve heard devils say, ‘don’t say that.’

If you say that, I’ll have to go. It’s like, yeah, that’s the point. You know, forgive your daddy. Don’t forgive him. If you forgive him, I’ll have to go. Yeah, that’s the point. The devils are liars, but they still tell the truth. They just lie by telling the truth. All right. Yeah. But you know, you’re no longer a slave. They don’t own you. They don’t own you.

One day, you’ll judge them. you’ll stomp them like cockroaches. The devil’s that I, when God says, ‘we judge angels,’ my take on that is, we judge those demonic angels who attacked us our whole life, and we’re the ones who get to say to them, ‘Go to hell.’ you get to say that to somebody, isn’t that cool? You look at that little demon that’s been bugging you the whole, you know, that little demon, every time I drop something, says, ‘you’re just an idiot, Kevin.’ you go.

I’ll look at him one day and say, “Hey, idiot caller, go to hell.” And he will. Do you hear that? He did too. He heard that, and he knows it. Because I’m not a slave. And neither are you. you’re not a slave to death.

Dean Braxton came to the Firehouse Church. How about that? Dean Braxton, look him up on youTube. Died in Tacoma, Washington, clinically dead one hour and 45 minutes. No heart. No brain, dead. Dead.

Wrote a book called “In Heaven.” Dean went to heaven, met Jesus. Came back. He’s alive. Tells a story.

All right, and here’s what Dean says. Dean says your spirit leaves even before your body dies. Why? Because Jesus says you’ll never die. Well, that makes sense. I don’t know if that’s true. But Dean said it did for him. He said before it, before he flatlined, he was already up and out of his body.

He said now it’s not true for non-Christians; they experience death. But dear ones, whether we physically die or not, our consciousness will not stop. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will never die.”

25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. (John 11:25, NLT)

Yet they die, so will they live. Though they experience physical death, though their bodies die, they will live. And as every testimony that I’ve heard not only says they live, they say, “I was never so alive. I was more alive after I died than before I died.” Death is out there, man. I gotta confess, at 65 I think about it more than I did when I was 45, right? You know, when I was in the first half, there was like a lot of game left.

I think, I don’t know, 65 divided by 3, almost 22:22 to 65 is 87. I don’t know if I’m in the fourth quarter. You know, I could be. My parents both made it into their 80s and they weren’t in great shape. So, you know, the Clancy’s, we can abuse our bodies and live long. My dad was proof of that. So, I don’t know how long I can live. I don’t know. Drunk driver tonight. Who knows, right? None of us know. None of us know. You might be young and in the fourth quarter.

But I know this. Not a slave to that fear. My biggest fear isn’t that I’m gonna die. My biggest fear is how I’m gonna do that first encounter with Jesus. And that’s kind of a weird kind of fear. It’s kind of an awesome fear, an exciting fear, but it’s not like the fear of like, okay, you know, the president’s coming over. That’s cool. It’s an honor.

But, you know, what am I gonna, what am I gonna say? You know, this president, whatever I say, I would speak slowly. I’m sorry. That was disrespectful. That was disrespectful.

But it was funny. You gotta admit that. All right. So, all right, dear ones. No more slavery. I will deliver you from slavery. I will make you my own. Revelation 21:3-4. They will be my people, and I will be their God. They will be my people, and I will be their God.

And these next two points, I’ll take them to the land, to the home that I have promised. These are so intertwined, because it’s not the land and the home that he had promised if he will not be our people.

Moses said that, right? Moses said, “Look at Lord, if you’re not gonna go with us, I don’t want this assignment. If you’re just gonna give us the land and leave, no thank you. We don’t want the land. We want the I am.”

All right, there’s a TV show, a popular TV show, a streaming TV show my wife watches, it’s kind of funny. She watched some of it, it was called The Good Place.

And it’s about this gal who lived a rotten life, and they made an administrative mistake, and she ended up in the good place instead of the bad place. And so now, she’s trying to adjust as a hellish person to heaven. But even heaven there is not heaven. It’s a mockery of heaven. You know, it’s nice and it’s quaint. It’s got pretty stores and flowers and birds, but the people there are still hypocrites and all this kind of stuff. And it’s not even that good of a place.

But she’s trying to pass off as a good person when really, she’s a stinker because she should be in the bad place. A lot of Christian theology has been kind of centered. I mean, that’s a parody of Christian theology about when you die, you go to the good place. If you’re a good person, if you’re a bad person, you go to the bad place.

That’s not Christian theology. First of all, we all deserve to go to the bad place. Second of all, the goal isn’t the good place.

The good place is a result of the goal. The good thing is Him. He’s the good thing. He will be our God. Jesus makes it the good place. The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, that’s it. His family relationship with Him makes everything Eden, makes everything heaven, makes everything life, makes everything good, renews all things, grows all things, is life abundantly, is light and joy and peace.

You know, Jesus could go to the deepest black hole in the universe, and he’s there for a nanosecond, and it’s heaven.

And Jesus could leave the most beautiful landscape where birds are singing and people are humming, and it’s the good place. If Jesus abandoned heaven for a moment, it would turn to hell. He’s the prize, and I know, I say it all the time. Good, there ought to be things preachers say all the time, so that when I die, you won’t forget them.

Never forget, the goal is not to go to heaven, the goal is God, and when you get God, you got heaven. I will be their God, they will be my people.

That’s what he tells Israel. Listen, all these other gods, Baal and Moloch, that want you to sacrifice their children, all these wicked Egyptian gods that set up Pharaoh as this terrible tyrant, he says, you don’t have to live that way. You can live in a covenant relationship with me, and you can live in a land flowing with milk and honey, abundant in life, full of protection, full of family joy, full of serenity, peace, and order. You can live in all that. Why? Because I’ll be your God, and that’s who I am.

People look at the Old Testament and say, “Oh, that’s so restrictive.” No, it’s so life-giving. “Well, they said stone disrespectful teenagers.” Well, that might be harsh, but you know what? Life would be good without disrespectful teenagers. Just saying. Life would be good if there were good parents and children that honored them. That would be good. Life would be good if people didn’t commit adultery. I’ve never met adultery that worked. It’s always destructive.

I had a friend who committed adultery, destroyed his marriage, destroyed his faith, destroyed his life, and in the middle of it, he said, “Kevin, if anybody ever comes to you and says, ‘I’m thinking about committing adultery,’ tell them don’t do it.” He said, “Yeah, and you know what, he had great sex during adultery. It was great, it was fun, you know, more exciting and adventurous than with his wife. Good for you, buddy. you’re miserable. you’re miserable. Great sex ain’t worth it. It ain’t worth it. It ain’t worth the destruction of a life.”

Listen, dear ones.

God’s law is good. God is good. You will be my people. I will be your God. We are part of God’s forever family in Christ. We are part of God’s forever family.

So, I’ll give you a new land. I’ll give you the home that I promised. For Israel, it was that place by the Mediterranean Sea that thousands of years later, people are still fighting over. Right? Doesn’t that make you think that the Bible must be true, that that piece of desert is the center of the world?

That piece of desert is the center of the world? I mean, you’d think it’d be Washington. It’s gorgeous up here. That’s just dry, bony land. Center of the world. All right. Whatever that means eschatologically, I don’t know.

But I’ll tell you this. God has promised us a home. It’s the new heavens and the new earth. He will re-Eden this planet. And we’ll live in that garden forever. And who knows how big that Eden’s going to be. Who knows if we’ll populate the universe. Don’t worry. I’m not being Mormon.

You’re not going to be the god of your own planet. But you might be the governor. I don’t know. I don’t know what you’re going to be. But I know it’s not going to be boring. you’re not going to be sitting on clouds playing harps. Unless, of course, you just love playing harps. Yeah. That’s right. That’s right. Leonard Skinner playing free bird on harps. Harps. I’d be down for that.

All right, you’ll be using your gifts, you’ll be learning new skills. I’ll be learning how to play music. I’ll be learning meteorology.

These are things that have always interested me. I will regain my youth again, and I will be able to play basketball with my son and my grandson, not as an old man, but at my prime. They’ll look at me go, ‘Grandpa’s got game. He’s got a shot.’ That’s right. I gotta be able to play basketball with Otts. I might even be able to keep up. Who knows? I might even be able to go bike riding with Brian and not get exhausted.

Let’s go over that. Let’s go over Mount Everest. Sure, it’ll be easy.

It’ll be easy, exactly. No cars zipping by. All right, the new heavens and the new earth. That’s what the Bible says. Listen, this is our home. This is our home. It seems to me in the Bible there’s a two-stage process, right? To depart from the body is to be with the Lord. I don’t believe in soul sleep. I think when we depart with the body, we go to be with the Lord and we’re recognizable, but we’re not yet completely in our resurrected state.

And then, at the end of time, when Jesus returns again and all history wraps up, there is a general resurrection. We get our resurrected bodies and then the new heavens, Jerusalem comes down and joins the new earth and there we will be forever. That’s what we were created for.

The angels were created for the heavenly realm. We were created for terra firma. We were created for earth. God put Adam and Eve in the garden and said, “Multiply, subdue the earth, turn the earth into the garden.”

The Bible starts in the garden in Genesis 1.

It ends in a garden in Revelation 22. We’re meant to be in a garden, right? We’re gonna be, Ico, we’re gonna be on an eternal farm. So, you’re on the right track. you’re on the right track. We’re going to re-garden the earth.

There’ll be cities, there’ll be cultures, there’ll be music, there will be worship. But some people say, “Oh, we’ll worship God forever. We’ll just always be in a worship service.” Look, I love worship services, but we’re going to do other stuff.

Those worships, you’ve had experiences where you worship God, it was just awesome.

I remember the first time I went to Promise Keepers. There were 50,000 men in this stadium, and I was all grumpy, right? I was all grumpy, like, “Oh, these men ought to be doing so, I don’t know, the devil, you know, on my shoulder. These men ought to be doing something else. This is silly, this is just a big production. What does this do to advance the kingdom of God?”

And then the band started playing, and 50,000 men rose to their feet and started singing in unison, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty,” and everything changed for me in an instant. I thought, “This is awesome.” I looked down at these macho Central California guys who somehow allowed me to be their pastor, the least macho man who ever existed. There are two reasons I don’t have a beard, Peter. One is I can’t grow one, and the other is I don’t deserve one.

All right. Because if you can’t change a tire, you can’t have a… I can change a tire, I just don’t want to. I just call AAA to do it. I used to do it. Now it’s like, no, I have this card, I have this phone number. You guys with the truck, with the nyeh things, and it’s not the uh, uh, uh things, you guys come do it, all right? I pay you to do that, go do it. I got money, I pay for convenience, that’s what money’s for.

All right. But yeah, I saw a guy, Peter, it wasn’t you. If it was you, I’d have chewed you out. Big beard, all right, cold winter day, wind blowing. He is in the passenger seat of his car. Already a, you know, I think you can let women drive, but still, a little bit of a sign, it’s like, hey.

On his phone, this girl gets out, young lady, just a nice young lady, little flimsy coat, the wind’s blowing, she’s trying to hold her coat closed, wind whipping, unscrewing the gas can, getting that gas, that guy’s on his phone with his big beard. Now, thou shall not judge. Maybe he just got out of the hospital. Maybe he was a quadriplegic. All those things are possible, but everything in me wanted to go and say, “I’m going to shave that beard off your face, young man, unless you get out there and pump that gas for that girl.”

I’m sorry, I’m just an old man about that. I don’t do much, but I do pump my wife’s gas when she’s in the car, all right? Now, if something breaks around the house, she knows how to use the Makita, so yeah, that’s another thing. All right.

I don’t know how the new heavens and the new earth have to do with that. I have no idea how I got on that trail, but I do know this, people. There will be beards in heaven. Sure, Jesus has a beard.

Maybe I’ll even be able to grow a beard in heaven. We had a beard-growing contest at a church I pastored one time. I grew mine for three months, and I simply looked like an Amish boy in puberty. I did. I used my wife’s mascara to thicken it up to make it look better. I got her mascara out. It looked so bad. It was terrible.

I will give you the land and the home I promised. Dear ones, you’re going home. you’re going home, and it will be home.

That’s one of the things Dean Braxton, my new friend who went to heaven. The two things I remember when I talked to him, and they’re in his book. The two things I remember is he said, he talked about his first encounter with Jesus, and he said, ‘I fell at his feet, and all I could say was, you did this for me. You did this for me. You did this for me. Thank you.’ And then he said, instantly, he said, ‘I felt like a fit. I was home. I was accepted. There was no thought of sin.’

He said, “There was not even a thought that I’d ever sinned. Wouldn’t that be great to meet Jesus and not remember your sin? Because that’s, like, baggage I don’t want to bring before him and say, you know, the life review? Can we just not do it? I get it.” I said end. “I get it. Anyway, you’ll be will. I will. Moses, go deliver my people from Egypt. It’s too hard. Dear one, go lead Paul’s bowl to Christ. Go witness to your neighbors. Go be a Christian in a world that’s hostile to Christians.”

Go be a Christian in a society that mocks you, parodies you, misrepresents you, and makes fun of you, and don’t hide. Still stand up for Christ, be a shining light, and be an example. “It’s too hard.” No, I’ll tell you what’s too hard. Dying for the sins of the world. That’s why you didn’t have to do it. I did it. What I’m asking you isn’t too hard. And let me tell you why. If you show up, I’ll be there. I’ll do the heavy lifting. “Moses, deliver my people from Pharaoh. I can’t.”

I know you can’t. All you got to do is show up and tell Pharaoh what I’m going to do, and then sit back and watch. Baby, have you ever done that? Have you ever just seen God just in action, and you just got to be a part of it, right? That’s my whole life, man. I stand up here and talk, and then people say, “I want to come to Jesus.” Wow, that’s awesome. I’ve had people come to me and say, “Man, when you such and such, that changed my life.”

And they walk out the door, and I go, ‘I never said that. I never said that. That was too clever for me. I didn’t say that.’ People hear stuff, man.

All right, so, dear ones, The Great I Am is also the one who will show up in your life. Why? Because He’s the Great I Am, which means He’s not the deist God who wound it up and set it into motion. He is the interfering God who, when you pray, answers. When you ask for help, help comes.

And He does things in you and through you that you could never do on your own. The Great I Wills from the Great I Am. They were there for Moses.

Listen, the New Testament says this. The glory that Moses had on his face when he came down from the mountain is not greater but less. Can you feel it? Can you feel it burning in your gut right now? It’s less than the glory that’s in you.

John the Baptist is the greatest of the Old Covenant.

The least in the kingdom of God, the least indwelt by the Holy Spirit, is greater than John. you’re greater than Moses. When you get there, Moses, Abraham, Daniel, David are all going to come up to you and say, “I wish I had your era of history, not mine. God used me to prepare, but He used you to fulfill.” How cool is that?

A recent football coach just got hired, Jim Harbaugh. His brother, John Harbaugh, is a football coach. His dad was a football coach, and his dad was a poor football coach, but he taught his sons. His sons are great football coaches. He taught them to be optimistic. He taught them to be positive. The car would break down, and they’d be walking to the gas station to get gas or something because the car had run out of gas, and he goes, “Oh, it’s a great day.”

It’s cold, and it’s rainy, and we’re going to the gas station with a gas tank. Nobody’s got it better than us. And his sons just learned that mantra. Nobody’s got it better than us. Now they coach football teams, and they always get in their huddles with their football teams. Who’s got it better than us? Nobody’s got it better than us. You know how football coaches jack up their teams. But the truth is, we got it better than them. At least them that don’t know Jesus. Dear ones, I’m telling you the truth.

This is not even a pep talk from a coach. Nobody’s got it better than us. Nobody’s got it better than us. The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord put his favor upon you. He’ll lift up his confidence upon you and give you peace.

Go in that peace to love and serve the Lord. And you know what? I said that too soon because I’m not used to doing communion after the sermon. Because we switched the game plan.

And so, I should have said this on the night that he was betrayed. He took bread, and he broke it, and he gave it to his disciples. And he said, “This is my body which is given for you.” So, hold on to that last blessing. It’s coming back around.

But dear ones, this is the “nobody’s got it better than us” meal. When you take this meal, realize nobody’s got it better than you. you’re invited to the table of the king of the universe. How good is that? And he feeds you with his very life.

He puts his life in you. He nourishes his life in you with communion and prayer and Bible and church. So that you will persevere to the end and you will not quit and you will not lose. And you will be forever a part of his forever family because he’s the great I am. And he has done all these things for you and he won’t stop. So take this meal and be thankful.