June 2, 2024, Message by P. Kevin Clancey

He has shown you the path of life. In his presence is the fullness of joy. At his right hand are pleasures forevermore. Amen. Amen.

Good. Good. All right, dear ones, it is good to be with you. And I mean that sincerely. I’m not lying about that. I actually really love you guys. Oh, my goodness. You know how to respond to that. See? You know how to respond.

I was telling these guys, I was telling them, a Bible study, 43 years, married to Jill, and it was like a year or so ago.

I’m just looking here at the couch, and I just love this woman. I love this woman, man. And I just said, you know why I love you? And I just started listing off. I said, you’re beautiful, you’re intelligent, you’re compassionate, you’re loyal, you’re a terrific mother, you’re a fantastic grandmother, you’re hardworking. I mean, I just listed off, like ten or twelve characteristics just right off the top of my head. No problem at all. Just listed them off. And she sat there and goes, well, thank you. And I’m waiting, right? I’m just waiting for.

She made me ask, well, why do you love me? And then I get this. That’s a good question. And here’s what she said. She said one thing. I just got one thing. She said, you make me laugh. So I have this pressure now to be funny. It’s like this huge pressure to be funny.

So anyway, all right, dear ones, tonight we’re going to talk about wisdom. And then after I talk about wisdom, we’re going to have communion, and then we’re going to have cake. And how could that not be a good thing?

So, Proverbs 8.

We’re reading through our Bibles in a year, and we’re into the Proverbs. How many of you just like the Proverbs? All right. I knew the minute I read the Proverbs, I think about Stevan, and I think about my wife.

Steven and my wife have many things in common. They are both these, like, stand-up, do-the-right-thing, loyal, hardworking, faithful, justice-oriented people. They’re just great. And I just love people like that. And I’m not the least bit like that. So that’s why I love that.

I’m not saying anything about you, Jamie.

But anyway, I love that. And so we had our Bible study Thursday night. By the way, Mick, I’ll be gone this Thursday night. But we had our Bible study last Thursday night, and we were going through the proverbs. And then they talked about it, and I said, I bet Stefan likes the proverbs. And sure enough, I knew it.

All right, so Proverbs 8 is the ode to wisdom. And a lot of the proverbs is about wisdom.

You know, Proverbs does a lot of contrasting: the wise and the foolish, the hard worker and the sluggard, the honest and the crooked. It does a lot of contrasting.

And Proverbs 8 is this great testimony to this attribute of God. You know, we talk about the omnis of God. God is omnipresent; He’s all places at all times. God is omnipotent; He’s all-powerful. God is omniscient; He’s all-knowing. But there’s another all of God, and that is God is all-wise. God is all-wise. He always knows the right thing to do.

He’s always got the right idea. He always knows exactly how to put things together. As I like to say in my prayers, and as I say to you often, God is smarter than me. God is smarter than me. His way is always right. Not mostly right.

I used to tell my children, you know, I used to tell them, listen, I’m a humble man. I’m not always right. I’m just almost always right. And I told them, I don’t know everything. I just know almost everything. And when they were small, they would listen to that.

When my daughter was a teenager, you could audibly hear her eyes roll as I said it. So anyway. But God is not almost always right. He’s always right. It’s very interesting.

In Proverbs 8, wisdom is personified. Wisdom speaks. It speaks about wisdom as, like wisdom as a person. It’s a female person. In Proverbs 8, wisdom is called a her. However, throughout history, church has looked at Proverbs 8 as a prophetic picture of Jesus, that Jesus is the wisdom of God. And I think it is.

I think it is a prophetic poem, a prophetic proverb about Jesus. But like all poetry, it’s not literal. Jesus wasn’t a woman. Jesus was a man. I got news for you people. The Bible is not always literal. The Bible is poetic. The Lord is my shepherd, but he was a carpenter. All right? And you don’t have wool, by the way. All right, be as gentle as doves, but don’t lay eggs, right? It’s poetic imagery. And so this is poetic imagery. And so wisdom is given the quality of a she.

It also talks about wisdom being born. And we know that Jesus and early church heretics would take Proverbs 8 and say, see, this is proof that Jesus is less than the Father in that the Father created Him, because it talks about the Father creating wisdom. And actually it says, wisdom was born. But the word born could also mean possessed. But the idea, actually, the poetic idea in Proverbs 8 is that wisdom is before creation. And so again, it’s poetry.

But I think as you read it, you will see how wisdom kind of portrays in Proverbs 8. You know, we’re doing our Bible study on how the Old Testament pictures Jesus. That wisdom is, in fact, a picture of Jesus.

And so I’m going to read the whole proverb to you all, chapter 8. I’m going to read all of chapter 8 to you.

1 Listen as Wisdom calls out! Hear as understanding raises her voice! 2 On the hilltop along the road, she takes her stand at the crossroads. 3 By the gates at the entrance to the town, on the road leading in, she cries aloud, 4 “I call to you, to all of you! I raise my voice to all people. 5 You simple people, use good judgment. You foolish people, show some understanding. 6 Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you. Everything I say is right, 7 for I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception. 8 My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it. 9 My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge. 10 Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. 11 For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it. 12 “I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment. 13 All who fear the Lord will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech. 14 Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine. 15 Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees. 16 Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments. 17 “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me. 18 I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice. 19 My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver! 20 I walk in righteousness, in paths of justice. 21 Those who love me inherit wealth. I will fill their treasuries. 22 “The Lord formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else. 23 I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began. 24 I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters. 25 Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born— 26 before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil. 27 I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans. 28 I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth. 29 I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth’s foundations, 30 I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence. 31 And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family! 32 “And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. 33 Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it. 34 Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! 35 For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. 36 But those who miss me injure themselves. All who hate me love death.” (Proverbs 8:1-36, NLT)

And may the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our rock, our strength, and our redeemer.

Dear ones, wisdom calls out. Wisdom calls out. It’s not hidden, it’s not mysterious, it’s not secret. It’s not some new revelation. It’s not some new thing that God has brought upon the earth. And dear ones, wisdom is plain to be seen. It’s plain to be heard. It calls out. And ever since Jesus Christ came into the world, wisdom has now stood at the center of human history and said, come to me. And I want to. And here’s the thesis tonight. Here’s the point I want to make as I describe all these aspects of wisdom.

Jesus is the wisdom of God. Jesus is wisdom. He is the wisdom of God. And Jesus is not hidden, people. He is not hidden. He’s known now all over the world.

In October, I’m planning on going to Africa. I haven’t done a mission trip for a long time. I don’t even know why I’m doing this one. But it’s just on my heart to go to Africa and speak to pastors from five nations. And Africa, as we talk tonight, is becoming the Christian continent. And someday people are going to stand before God, and God is going to say, why did you ignore me? Why did you turn your back on me? Why have you forsaken me? And they’ll say, well, God, I just didn’t know. I mean, how could I know? And he’s going to tell them, here’s how you could know. You grew up in America. There was a church on every corner. Oh, but God, you know, they were full of a bunch of hypocrites. Yeah, well, there’s room for one more, bucko.

Wisdom is not… and we charismatics, we people who love the move of God and love signs and wonders and miracles and prophecies and all those kinds of things. And I love all those kinds of things, man. I love when God moves. But listen, there’s this kind of cult among charismatics about, ooh, you know, I got a new revelation. No, you didn’t.

Ooh, there’s this new secret formula. There’s this new secret sauce of how to get to the upper level. You want to get to a higher level? Obey the things at the level you’re at now. I’ll tell you how to get to a higher level. Love your enemies, feed the poor. Be a good husband, be a good wife. Go to church, read your Bible, say your prayers.

Oh, but I want to go off to this camp and have prophetic dreams and interpretations. People, come, boy. Pastor, I need a word from the Lord, and listen.

I believe in prophetic words, and my life has been changed by strategically timed, directive, prophetic words from God. I believe all that stuff. But listen, sometimes we just, we’re after the esoteric. We’re after the exciting and the fancy and the new.

But wisdom is plain, simple common sense. It’s the rock-solid stuff of discipleship. A prophetic friend I have, he says people would come to him and say, I need a word from the Lord. And he’d say, read your Bible. Lots of words in there. It’s not hidden. It’s not secret. It’s not new revelation.

It’s not mysterious. It’s accessible to all. Wisdom is for the simple. You know, here’s something that’s interesting. We tend to think that wisdom has something to do with what we would call intelligence.

Let me say about intelligence. First of all, every person is intelligent in something. We judge intelligence in our culture primarily by mathematical and linguistic intelligence. That’s what’s mostly scored in schools. So if you’re good at math and you’re good in language, you’re considered smart. If you’re good with your hands, but you can’t spell or add, you’re considered stupid.

But I want to tell you something. I can spell an ad. I can use words pretty well, I think. And I’m pretty good with math in my head. Pretty quick with math in my head. And yet you put a mechanical something doohickey in front of me and say, fix it. Listen, you are now dealing with a bag of hammers. You know, I’m just, I don’t know. You know, I don’t know how to fix it.

Everybody’s smart at something, dumb at something else. But wisdom has nothing to do with your IQ.

It has nothing to do with a high IQ. Turn to somebody next to you and say, good news for you. No, don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it.

All right, so wisdom is for the simple. Here’s what wisdom is. I’ve already used the phrase common sense. Wisdom is how to apply the knowledge you know to live life successfully. And there’s lots of people with high IQs who are really stupid when it comes to wisdom.

And there’s lots of very simple grandmas and grandpas living out in the hollers who got more wisdom than a room full of philosophy PhDs. Wisdom, is that common sense? It’s like my wife, she’s the wise one, right?

When my kids were in the college, all three of my kids ended up going to Christian colleges.

And then when they were writing papers on eschatology or something, they would call me, all right, and I would, you know, wax eloquent.

When they needed to know how to get a stain out of the carpet or what to do with a crying baby at two in the morning, you know, they wouldn’t. They would call me and I’d say, well, you know, in the grand scheme of things, Jesus will return.

No. Get mom. Dad, get mom. I need help here. Get mom. I need wisdom. I need common sense.

I need somebody who knows what they’re talking about. That’s wisdom. Wisdom. And it’s accessible to all. And it is to be proclaimed. We’re not to keep it. And therefore, we are to proclaim Jesus. We are to proclaim the wisdom of God.

And, dear ones, my goodness, we get so buffaloed by the fact that the world doesn’t like it. We’re so dismayed. Recently, a pro football kicker spoke at a Catholic university, and he said nothing but Catholic things.

And he maybe was a little heavy, you know, in my opinion, maybe he was a little heavy-handed on the woman’s places in the home kind of thing. But basically, he didn’t even say that. He just said, you know what? There’s great value and joy about being a homemaker and a mother, and there’s nothing disgraceful about that.

And if that’s your heart’s desire, go for it. And do you know, for the first time in history now and since the history of polls anyway in America have been taken, women are less happy.

Young women are less happy than men because now we’ve told women that you only can be happy in this one path of life. And the traditional path of life that has been very fulfilling for many women for centuries is they’re told that they’re stupid and they’re less than if they pursue that path.

And this guy got up and he said, that’s not true. Oh, my gosh. People went nuts. And I love the fact that he’s not backing down. He says, no, I believe what I said. I believe what I said.

And so when you proclaim wisdom, when you proclaim Jesus, don’t be alarmed that there’s backlash, dear ones. It’s not our job to be popular. It’s our job to be faithful. It’s not our job to be popular.

And here’s what will happen. The message will resonate with some who have ears to hear and will be opposed by others who don’t want to hear it. So what? Well, they’ll get mad at me. They’ll kill me. Not in this culture, not in this culture, but in some cultures, they’ll kill me.

I love what Bill Johnson says.

You can’t threaten me with heaven. You can’t threaten me with heaven. And so proclaim wisdom. Proclaim Jesus. Proclaim the truth. Speak it.

Wisdom has great goodness and value, and people will use difficult questions to run down rabbit trails and to avoid the simple, direct confrontation of wisdom.

I’ll never forget the first time I was at a Pentecostal church. I was a young Christian, and I was a Kumbaya hippie, all right? I was a Jesus movement Kumbaya hippie. And we worship like this. Kumbaya, my Lord. Kumbaya.

My sister, who was trouble, man, she was getting in all sorts of trouble. I was praying for her, and the Lord saved her. He just didn’t save her in the way I wanted him to.

He saved her with a Pentecostal boyfriend who wore a suit and gold chains and drove a Porsche and took her to a Pentecostal church. I’m not talking about a 2024 Pentecostal church. I’m talking about a 1980s Pentecostal church. Men in suits with products in their hair, Pastor driving a Cadillac with a big ring. Women with poofy dresses and shoulder pads.

And you want to talk about big hair? I mean, if the ceiling fans were low, they were in trouble, all right?

These people are all dressed up. They’re all poofed out. And I go to this church, and they’re running. They’re running around the church, all dressed up. And they’re running around the church, and their hands are in the air, and they’re yelling hallelujah.

And nobody’s going, kumbaya, my lord. Ain’t Jesus cool, man? Oh, dude, he’s so cool. Right on. Nobody’s doing that. And I thought, I remember I judged these people, said, these people.

These people are all just faking it. They’re all just showing off. And I love how the Lord, that’s a rabbit trail. See, I’m being confronted with God saying, will you worship me passionately? And I take the rabbit trail and say, well, these people aren’t doing it. They’re faking it.

And the Lord won’t let you take rabbit trails. He said, well, let’s forget about their worship. Kevin, how about yours? Would you lift your hands to me? Regardless of what they’re doing, would you simply lift your hands to me? How hard is that?

It was hard because I was proud. And now the real issue, which had nothing to do with the big haired ladies, had everything to do with the heart inside of me, was being confronted by God.

That’s what wisdom does. It won’t let people take rabbit trails. It gets to the heart of the mission. So I did what every first time handraiser did. That was the beginning.

Now I’m one of these, you know, now I’m wash the window. I’m all over the place. It was a start.

We had guys, I go to a Bible study on Tuesday night with a bunch of guys. And the Bible study, there’s other things going on in the room where we’re having a Bible study, and there are a couple guys there playing cards. You could tell they were just paying attention to the Bible study.

One of the guys at the Bible study is kind of a bold evangelist. All of us noticed these guys paying attention, but we didn’t do anything. But he did something.

He said, hey, you guys, if you were to die tonight, where do you think you’d go?

I thought, well, there we. It’s on, isn’t it? That started it. And we just. And it was amazing that the rabbit and these guys actually engaged with us. And at the end, they were drawn in.

We didn’t lead them to Christ, but they did pray. They did pray, Lord, if this is real, reveal it to us. Show us. And they were actually drawn in. They were out at a distance, and they came in and joined us.

But it’s amazing the rabbit trails they would try to take. This guy said, well, you know, my grandma is a good, devout woman. Yeah, we’re not talking about your grandma. He said, if you died tonight. Well, yeah, but what about the crusades? That’s my favorite. It’s like, oh, yeah, bring up something 1200 years ago.

And it was great because the wisdom of the guys talking, they said, yeah, yeah. They wouldn’t go down and explain the crusades. I would have gone, well, you know, not all the crusades, the first crusade was actually justified.

You know, the others were kind of, you know, I’d have got into the history of it and all that because that’s the fool I am. But the guy who was talking to him, just perfectly wise, he said, yeah, there’s been some things done in history in the name of Christ that weren’t Christ. But what about you? This is between God and you, not between crusaders 1200 years ago. What about you?

And so don’t let complex theological issues that you haven’t figured out yet stop you from the main and the plane.

All right? And I said this earlier, the way to grow in wisdom is to do the things you do know. Someday you’ll understand the things you don’t know. But sitting around contemplating them and not doing anything now is the way to stagnation.

Don’t let the complex stop you from the simple. That’s wisdom. I think it was Mark Twain. I loved what he said. He said, listen. He said, it’s not the things in the Bible that I don’t understand that trouble me. He says, it’s the things I do understand. I love that. Yeah.

I had a woman come to me and say, what part of thou shalt not commit adultery don’t you understand? She was committing adultery on her husband. And she said, well, listen, pastor, God is love. I said, yes, God is love. And I don’t love my husband. I love this guy. So therefore, it’s okay that I leave my husband and my two kids for this guy. Because God is love, right?

No. God, who is love, said, thou shalt not commit adultery. That’s the loving thing to do, not to cheat on your husband.

That’s the loving thing to do for your kids, not to cheat on your husband. And this is why pastoral counseling drives me nuts. She divorced the guy, but I told her, you can be proud of me. I didn’t say, oh, gosh, that’s a great argument. Yeah. I guess I should cheat on my wife, too, because, you know, she burnt the toast this morning.

All right. So, dear ones, it is more valuable than jewels and more precious than precious metals. Can you imagine the line? There are 16 of us here tonight.

Can you imagine how many people would be here tonight if we were freely handing out gold coins and silver coins at the door? Pounds and pounds of gold. And then we had some jewelry too, some diamonds. And we’re just handing them out. Come on in. We’re handing them out at church. There’d be a line out the door.

That shows you that we live in a foolish world. Because, dear ones, I’m not saying I’m a great preacher, but I’m saying this is a great book and I’m trying to articulate it.

I’m telling you right now, I’m giving you something more precious than gold, more precious than silver, more precious than diamonds. It is the wisdom of God.

And here’s what’s so great about that. The Bible says that’s free. James 1 says, anyone lack wisdom. Yeah. Okay, here’s how you get it. Study for 32 years, pay thousands of thousands of dollars, get into the student debt. No, here’s how you get it. Ask and God will give it to you generously.

That which is more precious than the things that people fight wars for and die over and spend their whole lives pursuing, that which is more precious than that is handed out freely by God to the simple, faithful, believing person who asks for it.

And I thought, man, tonight, when we pray at the end of the service, you know, we can pray for healing and all those other things we pray for. But tonight we’re going to pray for wisdom.

And I thought, no, we’re not going to do it at the end of the service. At this point in the sermon, so I don’t forget, because I do that. At this point in the sermon, I’m going to do it right now.

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, heavenly Father, that is an incredible promise that you give us in the Bible. That which is the most precious gift that you can bestow, more precious than tons of gold and silver, more precious than diamonds and rubies, more precious than things people fight and die for.

You give freely to simple, humble people who say, oh God, I need wisdom to live my life in a way that lives it well, loves others, and honors you, and will inherit eternal life and eternal riches from your gracious hand. God, that’s what I need. And you said you’d give it generously. I believe it, and I ask for it upon every soul in this room.

Lord, would you pour out the wisdom to live a good and godly life that will lead to eternal riches and fruitfulness for your kingdom on this earth?

God, we don’t know how to do it. We’re not smart enough. We’re not clever enough. Sometimes we’re not brave enough. But would you give us the wisdom to do it and the courage to act on that wisdom?

Those are two simple things we ask for, Lord, the wisdom to know how to live life well, and then the grace, the courage to do it in Jesus name. Father, with all the sincerity we have, we’re asking for that. Amen.

Amen, man. Right there. That could change the world, people. That could change the world. God is good.

There’s no crookedness or perversity in it. There’s no crookedness or perversity in it.

We’re coming up on another election cycle and all. And the whole election cycle, you have one group of people saying that group is crooked and perverse. You have another group of people saying that group is crooked and perverse. You have one group of people saying, say, your guy’s a felon, he’s a liar, he’s a cheater.

We have another group of people saying, oh, you just have a corrupt, targeted justice system, and you’re liars and cheaters. We’re just shouting back and forth at each other, you’re crooked, you’re crooked, you’re perverse. Guess what? Jesus isn’t.

And as much as you might have political opinions about all that’s going on, as much as I have political opinions about all that’s going on, the truth is, we don’t even know. We have ideas, and those ideas lead to strong opinions, and that’s fine. And my opinion probably is shared with your opinion. Most of you, your opinion.

My mother-in-law, God bless her, she was just an arch conservative. And I told, I think I told you this last week, but, you know, she passed away in our living room, and my wife didn’t want to do the test. She said, Kevin, I think mom’s gone. Could you go in and check?

And so I went in, you know, and I put my hand in front of her mouth, and there was no breath. And I put my glasses, old school, I put my glasses down in front of her, no steam.

And I reached down to her neck, and I felt for a pulse, and I couldn’t find it. And I reached her wrist, and I couldn’t find any pulse, and she looked dead.

But I did. I had one final test. And you got to have humor at times like this. I bent down and I said, mom, I’ve changed my mind. In November, I’m voting for Biden. No reaction.

I told my wife she’s dead. Because she’d have been alive. She went, what? Democrat? Here’s her famous line.

She said this once, you know, once a week at least, probably once a day. Democrats have no common sense, no wisdom. That was her line. So, yeah, she’s a wise woman.

But, you know, I probably agree with you on those things. But the truth is, I’d always tell her. She’d always say, I know why they’re doing that. And I said, no, you don’t. You can judge what they’re doing and say what they’re doing is wrong, but you don’t know their motives, you don’t know their hearts. You don’t. You just don’t.

But we suspect perversity and crookedness. Maybe rightly so. But in wisdom, there’s no perversity or crookedness.

One of the worst things you can be on this planet is a crooked, perverse preacher who markets and traffics in the things of God. I would not want to be that person and face judgment.

And I just want to tell you people with all the sincerity I have, I love you. I love what I do. I thank you for paying me, but I don’t do it for the money. And I’m not after your money.

I’m not after your praise and adoration. Do I like that? No, it’s not. I want the reward, and I do love you. I want things to go well for you and for your children and in your lives.

And so as much as I am able, I want there to be no perversity or crookedness in the firehouse church, all right? And if you tithe tonight, God will return 700 fold. All right?

So listen, here’s how wisdom explains. Wisdom is self-control. It’s not given over to impulse. It’s not given over to impulse. So many.

So many things in our life we make a mess of because we act upon impulse. So many children are born out of wedlock. So many. So many. You know, we got this thing, you know, so many children are aborted because they were unwanted children, because people had impulse sex. People are in, are in huge credit card debt because they impulse buy, all right? And we do things out of impulse. We all do it. None of us is immune from that. I do it, you do it. But wisdom is self control.

It’s not given over to impulse. People get shot. People go to jail because of what we call crimes of passion. What’s a crime of passion? It’s a crime of impulse. Wisdom is self-control. And at the foundation of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.

Listen, there’s no fear of the Lord in our land. The god of our culture is a gentle, slightly senile grandfather or maybe grandmother or maybe trans. But it’s gentle. You’ll all make it. Gee, golly, he just loves us all. Got Christmas presents for us all.

There’s no fear of the Lord in our life. But I just told you I don’t want to stand before God. And God said, Kevin, you are a corrupt preacher. You preach for money, you preach for fame, you preach for your own ego and your own satisfaction.

Man, I don’t want to go to that spot in hell. I have a little bit of fear of the Lord in my life. I’m going to meet Jesus face to face one day and give an account for every word that’s come out of my mouth.

Now, I’m not afraid of God because I believe very much that the blood of Jesus and his mercy covers my sin, and I believe very much in his goodness and grace that it’s aimed at me.

And, you know, we can’t seem to hold two ideas in our head. We can’t seem to hold the idea in our head that God can discipline us and God loves us, and yet every one of us who has kids understands, should understand that perfectly.

You don’t discipline your kids. You don’t love them.

I’m so glad I wasn’t a woman, not as the old, just because your job’s harder. You have kids. And I don’t know why kids do this, but they run around the house and they go, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom.

I’d be sitting there going, I’m so glad I’m not mom. Then they go, dad. I would say, what? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And what? I say, ask your mother. I’m so glad I’m not her.

But every once in a while, the kids get out of hand, right?

They get running around a little ragged, and she’d be tired. You know, my mother used to say this. My mother used to say, listen, I am sick and tired. And I would always want to say, well, then go to bed. But I had wisdom not to say those words. Those would not have been good words to say.

So. But, you know, every once I tell my wife was tired, and she would actually say this to me. She would say this to me. She said, Kevin, I need you to bark at the children.

I need you to bark at the children. This is when they were little. Didn’t work as well when they were teenagers, but when they were little, physically, I’m not imposing. You know, I’m not six-five and big and scary looking. In fact, at the last church I pastored, they nicknamed me the Pillsbury Doughboy. That’s, you know, so I was. I was only scary in the movie Ghostbusters.

But anyway, I have a. But my voice is scary. Dogs and small children respond to my voice. And so Jill would say, Kevin, bark at the kids.

And I would just do it. It was great. I just. Hey, hey, hey, hey. Yeah, right. Marilyn, listen to your mother, okay? Fear of the Lord. Fear of the dad. Fear of the dad.

My son is a very successful businessman. He loves Jesus. He’s a wonderful father. I’m so proud of my son. He’s a wonderful man.

Three years old, he did something very defiant. So I took him to his bedroom. He was throwing a fit. I said, you can’t come out of this bedroom till you stop throwing the fit.

And he looked at me at three years old and said, I’m going to hit you. Now, I know this is not politically correct, but you know, I didn’t say to him, I understand those feelings. Golly.

Here’s what I said to him. I said, if you hit me, I will hit you back. And his hand came into motion and struck me. As his hand was coming down from this side, he was looking at it. He did not see from this side.

And so it was pop, bang, and he lifted a little off the ground, and then with lip trembling, his last essence of defiance. That didn’t hurt.

This is the moment I knew my son would be successful. I looked at him and said, would you like one that does? And he said no. You will go far in life, son.

Fear of the Lord. That is actually the foundation of wisdom. God is bigger than you. God is smarter than you. God is not almost always right. God is always right. And you are going to face God.

It says, for man it is to live once and face judgment. You are going to come face to face with God, and you are either going to be covered in the mercy of Jesus, or you are not.

And the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. People tell me all the time, oh, I just came to Christ out of love for God. Good. You should come to Christ out of his amazing love. But there ought to be something else in there. It’s like, you know what?

I don’t want to face the consequences of living life without God. There ought to be something. The proverb says, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. I grew up Catholic, all right? And here’s what I appreciate about being Catholic. Growing up, I learned the fear of the Lord, right? You go into a Catholic church and it is like you don’t know what it all means, but it’s all holy and mystical and powerful and transcendent.

What I didn’t learn in the Catholic Church, and I’m not saying they didn’t try to teach me this, I just didn’t learn it, was that I could have a friend in Jesus. That’s what the Protestants taught me.

But sometimes we Protestants, we’re so friendly with Jesus that we forget who it is that we’re friends with. He’s a good, good father. What does that mean? He loves to play with us on the floor. What else does a good, good father do? Yeah.

I used to tell my kids, I said, look, I’m going to be the best dad ever. When you’re a teenager, I’ll say yes till you give me a reason to say no. But if you give me a reason to say no, I said, the hammer will fall.

Now, I don’t know what the hammer was. It was a good line. It was like, ooh, we don’t want to see the hammer. It’s like, no, you don’t. I’m trying to think, what would the hammer be?

I don’t know why I came up with that, but it was like, Thor, you know, the hammer will fall. Okay. All right, dear ones, how is he like Jesus? He says, I love those who love me. Whoever loves wisdom, he loves. And there he says, just like Jesus, those who seek me will find me.

God is so generous with wisdom. Seek and you will find. Knock, the door will be open. Ask and it will be given you. He says, riches and honor are with me. Why would you be corrupt? Why would you take a bribe?

Why would you go up to somebody’s porch and steal their Christmas present, a $20 trinket in exchange for eternal glory?

Why would you settle for what does not bring life, instead of for what brings life eternal and abundantly, riches and honor?

Listen, if your daddy, if your savior is Jesus and your daddy is God, you got a rich daddy, you got a rich daddy and he’s good. What does he say? What does Jesus say? Jesus doesn’t just say you get to go to the good place, you get to go to heaven. What does he say?

Co-heirs. Do you hear that, co-heirs? With the eternal Son of God, you are co-heirs.

Why would you settle for the temporary and transitory pleasures and wealth of this world and pursue them in a corrupt and dishonest way, forgoing wisdom, forgoing Christ, and forfeit? What did he say?

36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? (Mark 8:36-36, NLT)

You know, King Charlemagne was the most powerful man in Europe in the 8th century. And it is said, it is said, and he wasn’t always a good man.

It looks like he may have repented at his death, because it said that in his burial, he wanted to be seated on his throne and he wanted his finger placed on that verse in the Bible. What does it profit a man, the most powerful man in the world of his time, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

And you know what wisdom’s answer to that is? Nothing. It profits him nothing. Wisdom promises honor, favor, eternal life, riches. It’s birthed and possessed before creation. God created the world.

He created the universe in wisdom. And as I said, this is a poetic picture of Christ. It’s not a direct one to one correlation, but it is a poetic picture of Christ in creation. And creation points to the great wisdom of God. It doesn’t point the opposite. This idea that science and religion somehow conflict is not true. It is true that science and religion are asking different questions. But nonetheless, every scientific discovery made in the 20th century points to a creator, points to an intelligent creator.

Every cell in your body has a code in it called DNA. It’s a language. You have a written language that told your body growing up how big your nose was going to be. And it told in the womb that you were going to have five fingers and five toes on your right and on your left.

There’s no such thing as a code without a code writer. There’s no such thing as a book without an author. This did not come to you because somebody dumped all the ingredients in the Pacific Ocean.

And the waves tossed and turned. And through millions of years and billions of years of mutation, wallah, a phone appeared upon the beach. Really smart nerds put this together. Sure, sure. Of course it could.

You could fly all the bombers in the US Air Force over a space the size of Manhattan with nothing but steel and concrete and water, and open the bombardier doors, and Manhattan would appear. It could happen. Sure. Just keep trying.

And that’s everything. The design of the universe, the fact that the universe has a beginning, DNA, everything, points to the creation.

The wise, incredibly detailed creation of God. And finally, wisdom makes an appeal. It says, listen and be blessed, hear and be wise.

I always tell people we dumb down. The word worship in church drives me nuts. Pet peeve. Pet peeve. Worship is the singing part of church. Oh, let’s. Let’s do the worship. I love the church’s worship. But then the sermon starts. No, no, no, no. Worship doesn’t mean singing and getting goosebumps because we sang your favorite song. All right?

And by the way, if we don’t sing your favorite songs here with the list that I pick out, and you’re critical of the list that I pick out, any Sunday you want, you can pick out the list, and we’ll sing your favorite songs. And actually, none of you gripe, none of you complain. But you know what? I get to pick out the songs. So if you want to, you can. But anyway. And you liked them tonight, right? Thank you. Good answer. All right, so if they’re about Jesus, sing them.

They don’t have to be your favorite. But worship isn’t singing. Worship is a bowed down life.

So if you’re paying attention, even the least bit of attention to this sermon, you’re still in a posture of worship, because what are you doing? You’re bowing down before the word of God saying, Lord, I want to be taught by your word. I want to be instructed by the scriptures.

When you give your money that box back, there isn’t a box. It isn’t a collection box to meet the fiscal needs of the church.

It is a worshipful offering unto God. You’re saying, God, I trust you with my finances because you gave them to me in the first place. They’re all yours. Not just 10%. 10% doesn’t belong. 100% belongs to the Lord. But you give him what you give him, and that’s an act of worship.

Your prayers, when you leave this place and you just act like a Christian in the workplace, in the neighborhood, and you humbly submit to God, that’s an act of worship. Worship is a lifestyle, not four songs on a Sunday.

Music is a great tool to worship. That’s what music is. It’s a great tool to worship. Use it as a tool.

You can sing those songs and not worship, and you can worship without singing songs. So don’t ever use worship. Don’t ever use the singing part of church as a shorthand for worship in my presence, because I will feel the need to be sanctimonious and correct to you. And so you mean the singing part of worship.

Every worship leader I’ve ever had, you know, they always. I just love it.

I go visit them, and they say. And they’ll say something in church, like, when the singing part of worship’s like, I got you. I gotcha. My words are in your head. I love it. All right. What does that have to do with what I was talking about? I don’t know. Wisdom? Yeah, yeah. Here. Hear and be wise. There you go.

You’re worshiping, you’re listening, you’re paying attention. Be intentional. Be diligent. Make this the goal of your life. Pursue Jesus. What’s the goal of your life? Pursue Jesus. I’m a businessman. Good. Pursue Jesus in business.

I’m a schoolteacher. Great. Pursue Jesus in school. I’m a homemaker. Good. Pursue Jesus at home. I’m a farmer. Good. Pursue Jesus on your farm.

There’s been this dichotomy in church that, like people like me, we pursue Jesus full time. People like you pursue Jesus for an hour on Sunday, and they go about your daily business. That’s a lie from the pit of hell.

You’re more important in this grand scheme than I am because you’re actually positioned strategically as missionaries in the workplace, in the neighborhood, in the community. You are more strategically located than I.

People expect me to talk about Jesus. They’re surprised when you do it. You are strategically placed. You’re a teacher for Christ. You’re a homemaker for Christ. You’re a businessman for Christ. Whatever you do, it is for Christ. I do it for Christ. I am Christ’s witness in this place.

I remember, you know, people will come to me in my neighborhood and they’ll tell me their problems, and here I am. I’m a pro, right? Supposedly. There’s no pros at this, right?

I’m just somebody you pay to keep out of the unemployment line because you don’t like public speaking.

So the people come to me and they’ll tell me their problems. You know what I think? Oh, Lord, they need a Christian in their life. And Lord’s like, well, they got one now. They go, well, who? Who? Jesus, who? Oh. Oh, yeah, right, right. That’s right. Well, Lord, they need a better Christian. You’re the A Team, Kev. Okay. Your holy spirit must be big, and he is.

Make this the aim of your life. Be diligent. Be persistent.

When I die, I want to die chasing Jesus. I want to run all the way to the finish line, you know?

I want to be in a hospital. Well, pastor, you don’t have much time. Well, you know, Jesus, I’d like to talk to you some more, but conversation might take longer than the time I got, so make your reservation.

My mother-in-law was so pleasant to the people in the hospital. God bless her. She was a witness for Christ. She was suffering and struggling, and she was just pleasant and loving and kind.

I don’t know if that would have continued if any of them had told them they were democrats, but they didn’t, so it worked fine.

He who finds me finds life and favor. Why wouldn’t you make this the central pursuit of your life? He who finds me finds life and favor.

We’ve been praying in our men’s Bible study, the prayer of Jabez. Oh, that I would be an honorable man, Lord, and that you would bless me and expand my territory.

That you would put your hand upon me and protect me from doing harm or bringing pain or coming under harm and pain. I want the favor of God. I want the hand of God on my life. I don’t want to do this alone. I don’t want to earn this. I need Jesus. I need the Holy Spirit.

What does he say? Seek and you will find. Wisdom is there. God is there. Jesus is there. If you find him, you find life and favor. And then it ends with this. A warning.

If you ignore wisdom, if you ignore Christ, if you try to do it on your own and think you’re smarter than God, you love death.

And again, I just have to speak this to you. I know I’m talking to the choir, and I know probably most of you listening on this. If you’re listening on YouTube, I’m talking to the choir, but maybe some of you aren’t. But even if you aren’t, you need to know this as a witness for Christ.

The lie of our current age, every current age has.

Has lies, and they’re different down through the ages and in different cultures. But one of the profound lies of our current age and our current culture, and it’s being taught in some churches, is that the love of God equals universalism, that everyone is saved.

And I know Christians who, you know, have come to that conclusion, and it’s just not true. The love of God wants God’s voice to be heard because God desires people to be saved. But, dear ones, if you reject God, your heart will reach a point of no return.

And to hate God and to hate wisdom is to love death. The wages of sin is not. Well, in the end, it’ll all be okay. It doesn’t say that. The wages of sin, the wages of an unrepentant life, the wages of believing you’re smarter than God and ignoring the wisdom of God because you have a PhD, is death.

And the eternal gift of God is life and favor. These are absolutes. It’s not. Everybody gets to the mushy middle ground.

There is light and life and eternity and Jesus and glory and new heavens and new earth and the garden of Eden as it was supposed to be, and just living life to its fullest and its most abundant.

Or there is separation from God and all life and all eternity and all glory and all goodness forever. And there’s not. And listen, time is not infinite on that. And your heart is not immune to becoming hard.

And so if you’re hearing my voice today, if you’re hearing my voice on YouTube and you’re just drunk and you stumbled on this and you haven’t been able to turn it off, I just got to tell you, there’s a reason.

Come to Jesus right now. Call us, contact us, go to a church, but come to Jesus. Eternity is in the balance. Your life is in the balance.

God is good. He is loving, He is kind. He is abundant and gracious, and He desires to share that and shower it upon His children.

But if you hate him and reject it, he’ll not stop you. Don’t do it. He who does not love wisdom, he or she who does not love Christ loves death.

And so I end with a call, the wise call to repentance. Turn. Love God. Love his love. Love his life. Receive his forgiveness. It’s very simple. It’s very simple. Give your life over to Jesus Christ and follow him. Ask his spirit to come into your heart and into your life. Repent of your sin.

What does that mean?

You’re going to stop doing the stuff you’re doing and you’re going to start to follow God. Are you going to be perfect at that? No, you’re not. For at least a week. No, you’re not. You’re not.

Those of us in this room, we’ve been practicing that for years. You don’t have to be perfect in it. It’s a change of direction. And you just, you give your life, you surrender your life over to Jesus Christ, God’s only hope and savior, and you invite his spirit to come and live inside of you. And two things happen immediately.

All your sins are forgiven, and the spirit of eternal God, the spirit of Christ, actually comes and takes up residence in you. You become a new creation, and that will never end.

And so that’s my desire. That’s what it means to love wisdom, to love Jesus.

Father, I pray that we would love Jesus. It’s not complicated. It’s not rocket science, not heart surgery. It’s simply this humble God becoming a man and saying to humanity, follow me. I’m life. I’m life. Follow me. The ways of this world are corrupt. They’re perverse.

They lead to death. But God has come to seek and save the lost in Jesus Christ. Turn your heart to him and follow him, and you will have life. And I ask for it in Jesus name. Amen. Amen.

For 2000 years, churches have been saying these words. 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.

In the same way, after supper, he took the cup. He poured it out, gave thanks to his father in heaven, and he said, drink this, all of you, in remembrance of me. For this is my blood which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. It is the blood of the new covenant.

This new covenant that God has established with us. The wisdom of God, Jesus Christ, has established this new covenant with us in his blood. And as you take this meal, you are partaking of the life of Jesus. Holy Spirit.

Just fill this meal with the life of Christ. At your invitation, we come to your table because we want to leave this room more like you than when we came in. So fill us tonight with the life of Jesus. We ask in his name. Amen.