This is Not the End-Don’t Allow the Past to Rob Your Future

God often uses adversity to teach us lessons in life.

James Greer
Apr 26, 2020    33m
In this sermon Pastor Greer talks about how God often uses adversity, like our struggle with finances, to teach us lessons to depend on Him, not the world. When we obey God, he can change our future. When we are not fulfilling God's purpose for our lives, we will come up empty every time. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

James Greer (00:00):
Man, I hope you tuned in early enough to see the baptism. Man, that was exciting. Yeah, we're still doing baptisms and hey, if you're one that wants to get baptized, you just let us know. You let us know online and we'll contact you. Man, it was fantastic. You know, I'll give you a verse every week and you can use that verse many times. Like when you're texting people and you're encouraging people, the one this week is Philippians 1:19 and it's going to say, for I know that as you pray for me and the spirit of Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance. So use that. Philippians 1:19, that's the verse this week.

James Greer (00:48):
You know the message today is going to be about leaving your past for your passion. I mean, in essence, you have to learn to push past your past, before you can ever get to your passion. Everybody has a past they'd like to deal with. And unfortunately, so many people never push past their past. You know, just learn to leave your past for your passion. Man, I tell you, I cannot wait until next Sunday's message. I'm going to go ahead and tell you what it is. I'm about tired of this Corona crap. That's the title of the message. Not really, not really. It's really C R A P capital letters and each one's going to stand for something and it's going to teach you how to deal with that, but you know, so I want you to be here next Sunday for that. Also, I want to remind you every day to try to stay connected. We have a devotion at noon and at six o'clock in the evening and this Tuesday at six I'll be interviewing Ted Price. It's at the nursing home. So, it's going to be a really exciting time.

James Greer (01:50):
I want you to know what my passion is. My passion is pastoring and preaching. And I don't want to be a a passive pastor. I want to be a passionate pastor, preacher. Amen? Now, sometimes that pastoring, I have to learn to do it through administrative. In other words, you can't go everywhere and you can't see everybody. But, if I could have would. What that means is when sometimes somebody else has to go, but they always let me know they represent me well. But I want you to know that my passion is pastoring and what preaching. But, before I could ever get to my passion, I had to get past my past. And so many of you all are still living in your past, that you just don't enjoy your passion. I had to get past my failures and I had to get past my flaws. And if you'd be honest, every one of you have some past that you're allowing to rob your future.

James Greer (03:02):
If I was going to ask you, so what is the worst thing you've ever done? Just the worst thing you've ever done or the worst thing that's ever happened to you. What would it be? Some of you would say, well, it was divorce or bankruptcy or unfaithfulness. Cheating, at work or stealing, hurting somewhere. Someone I love. I got into drugs and did some things I should have never done. I said something that hurt somebody. Maybe I dropped out of school. Maybe I quit a job I shouldn't. Maybe I heard friendship. Just just think about what is the worst thing that I've ever done. And then think about what's the worst thing that ever happened in history? The worst thing that ever happened in history is Jesus Christ going to the cross for me and you. He went to a cross and he went to a tomb but he didn't stay there. And because he didn't stay there, he paid the price for the worst thing that we ever did.

James Greer (03:56):
So, you don't have to stay in your past. You can be forgiven. So, he didn't want you to live in your past. Satan does though. Satan, he doesn't want you to find your passion. He need and want you to find your passion. He doesn't want you to love Jesus. He don't want you to further the kingdom. He doesn't want you to live for Matthew 6:33, seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and everything else will be added. Because when you find your passion, and you apply 6:33 God takes care of you. He's responsible for you and you're no longer responsible for yourself.

James Greer (04:29):
See, he knows if you get past your past and you find your passion, and your passion always has to include God, it has to. He created you that way. And it has to include God. One person with passion will do more than a hundred passive Christians. I mean, look at the 12 disciples. They changed the whole world once they got their passion. Let me ask you something, honest question, doesn't have anything to do with the quarantine, doesn't have anything to do with the Corona virus. Do you want to be just a passive Christian or passionate Christian, which are you? Huh? You know, which are you? One thing, until you find God's calling in your life, do you find your passion? You'll never feel fulfilled. You'll never feel complete. And it has to tie back to the Matthew 6:33.

James Greer (05:40):
See, I had to push past my past. I had to push past. Not even trying. I was afraid to try. I had to push pass my mistakes and my sins and my failures. And I'm not going to go into most of those, because most of them wouldn't bring honor to God, but I have learned one thing. I've learned to use my past to help me relate to people in the present. There're going through problems. I think 1 Timothy 1:15 said it best. What I say is true and it is for me, and you should fully accept it. Christ Jesus came, he came into the world to save. Well I love it, because when he says, when he came into the world to save, he says, I came in the world to make you whole. I came into the world to heal you. Because see, before you're saved you have something missing in your life. You're just not fulfilled. You're just not complete.

James Greer (06:33):
So, I came into the world to save sinners. Something that was missing, something. Somebody had a hole in your heart to whom he said, I was the worst, but I was given mercy. Thank goodness for God's mercy. I'm glad that God gives us his mercy. I'm glad he gives us what we need instead of what we deserve. So that in me, the worst of all sinners, Christ Jesus could show that he has patience without limits. I bet you that when God looks down, yeah, I didn't go into the ministry until I was 31 years old, almost called a late bloomer. I mean, God had to be so patient with me. My mother was patient with me, my parents were patient, but God was really patient with me. 31 years old, and God probably said, it's about time. You're a slow learner. Yes sir. He's patient with me.

James Greer (07:37):
Yes sir. He's patient with me. But, he made me an example for those who would believe in him and have their life changed for ever. What, changed for what? Ever. Eternity. In other words. Isn't it wonderful to know when somebody accepts Jesus Christ, they have eternal life? Amen? I was talking to some people today how important that is. Some people that had lost their children and they said, man, if I didn't know they were going to heaven, I don't know what I do. I talked to Janice Ryland, and she just had brain surgery. She just had a tumor removed. And we're getting to see people live out what I'm going to talk about, whereas God said his grace is sufficient.

James Greer (08:35):
We've got at least three or four couples, they're just living it out. I mean, we got Tony and Janet fuqua, they're just, they're living out. We've got Fred and Ashley, they're living it out. Now, we've got Janet and Randy and Randy had been in isolation, and Janice was in the hospital and I talked to Randy. And Randy said, I just talked to Janice, she acts like there's nothing wrong. I mean, maybe you need to tell her that she's got a brain tumor. I said, Randy, she knows she's got a brain tumor. I mean, she knows she's going to have surgery. Well, she doesn't act like it. Well, she does. She knows Jesus. She knows him in a special way. You know what she said? he said, guess what? For me, it's a win win. I get to go see my son and my mother if I die or I get to live here, had that kind of peace. That kind of grace is not normal. It's supernatural. And we're getting to see people live it out.

James Greer (09:13):
What I'm trying to say, but don't live in your past. God uses our past and our weakness to show forth God's strength. I had to push past the feelings of not having the intellectual ability to preach, not the knowledge, not, not the speech. Let's see. When God calls you, he'll equip you. I finally learned this truth that changed my life and it will change your life. It's 2 Corinthians 12:9, and he said to me, what my grace is sufficient for you. It's whatever you're going through. God's grace is sufficient.

James Greer (10:18):
Janice and Randy, and Randy had the virus, and I talked to him yesterday. He's still better than he's felt in years. And so he's getting over. That was not the end of the story. He's getting better. Uh, Janice I talked to her at six or seven this morning. She's an ICU, still talking on the phone. Not the end of the story. I said, did you get to talk to the doctor yet? Do you know if his cancer? I don't know, but I hope I will get moved to a room today. It's not the end of the story. God's grace is sufficient. God's grace is sufficient to get you to do whatever God's called you to do. God's grace is sufficient for me. Is God graces for sufficient for you?

James Greer (11:06):
But it says, and my strength though is made perfect in weakness. That's what you got to understand. When we are weak, God is strong. Therefore more gladly I would rather boast in my infirmities, than the power that the power of Christ may rest upon me. And then 2 Corinthians 12:10 says this, therefore I take pleasure in my infirmities. I like that. In my reproaches I put, you know, it's all right. I know I get up here sometimes and I stutter. I even know that I have this Dyslexia. And sometimes when I quote the verses, it's the opposite. People have been with me long enough. If I quote you know, I might say, Matthew 33:6 and they just flip it around. They said he probably meant 6:33 they don't even think anything about it, so it's okay. I know that sometimes I mispronounce words. I go, my wife says, I'm not trying to hurt your feelings. I'm trying to help you. I know that sometimes I say stuff. I can't believe I said it. It just comes out.

James Greer (12:10):
My son called me the other day, about three months ago he said, dad, that's very inappropriate. My son, you're telling me I said something inappropriate. He said, yeah. He said, you were preaching dad, and you said sob. I said, no I didn't. He said, yes you did. He said, asking you, I said, they didn't even say anything. He said, yeah, they're so used to you being inappropriate. They just think it's normal. I said, no other church could do that. I said, but I didn't necessarily do it on purpose, it just comes out, but what? The rest of the verse says is this, for Christ's sake, for when I am weak, then I am strong. God will use your weakness for his strength, where he gets the honor and the glory. And, you know, I wouldn't trade my God-given passion when it is practice for anything the world has to offer. There's nothing fulfilling, more fulfilling than that.

James Greer (12:48):
So, you might have done something in your past and you're allowing it to rob your wonderful future. You might be saying Brother James, you just cannot imagine, I did blank. Yes, I can. I can. We're going to use Peter for an example and I'm going to paraphrase part of it because of time. But Peter, he, you know, Peter cussed Jesus. Peter denied Jesus. you know, he did unbelievable things. He went back to his old job. He got discouraged once Jesus got crucified, even though Jesus appeared to him at least two times after the resurrection and said, hey, I'm here. Peter still got so discouraged and misunderstood his purpose. He was very unfulfilled. Like so many people today. Christians and non-Christians, if you haven't accepted Christ, you shouldn't expect to be fulfilled. Must've been the downer.

James Greer (13:36):
Can you imagine? Peter, he'd seen the blind to see and the sick healed, demons cast out, miracles. Peter got to walk on water and now Jesus is dead and what does Peter do? Here's what I'm going to go back and go fishing. He lost his passion. He lost the zeal, he lost his purpose, and there's people out there every single day, they're living their life like they lost their zeal. They lost their passion. They lost their purpose. That's not what God wants. Peter lived in the past.

James Greer (14:28):
Look at John 21:1-3, it says this, after these things, Jesus himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Galilee, and in the way he showed himself. Simon Peter, Thomas, also called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana, the sons of Zebedee, and two of the others, his disciples were together and what happened? And Simon Peter said to them, I'm going fishing. Where are you going, Peter? Fishing, the death, the burial, the resurrection. Jesus already appeared to you. Where are you going fishing? And then they said, well, we're going to go with you. Also, Peter was a leader. Where sometimes he led them to do good. Sometimes he led them to do bad. So, they went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught what? Nothing.

James Greer (15:35):
See, when you, when you're out doing what you think you should be doing is not what you should be doing. That's the way you're going to feel. You're going to feel like nothing. You're going to feel like I'm working, but it's just for nothing. You feel like, hey, I'm married, but just nothing and nothing goes right. Because Peter was doing something that he shouldn't be doing that doesn't seem like it was that bad. See, you might not be stealing. You might not be robbing. You might not be killing, committing adultery, but you're just not doing what God called you to do, and you're unfulfilled and it's just nothing. Peter went back to his old lifestyle. He was supposed to be fishing for men. See, when you're not doing what you're called to do, you become passive. You feel empty.

James Greer (16:22):
Some of you were at one time, you're active at church. Man, you were there every time. Maybe you were just really involved, you gave you love the Lord and something happened and now you're not in church. You don't give, you don't serve. It didn't work out your way. Things didn't happen the way you wanted. You really, you're saying, I thought church was all about me. You know what I'd like to say? How's that working for you? So, you're not happy, you're not fulfilled. You're still coming up empty.

James Greer (17:10):
So, Jesus came into their presence in John 21:4, but when the morning had now come and they must have fished all night, Jesus stood on the shore. Yet the disciples, they didn't know that it was Jesus. Stop for just a second. You know why? Sometimes when we're running from Jesus, we don't even recognize he's right there to help us. Some of you all are in such a mess, you don't realize that Jesus is right there with you. You can't imagine that Jesus is there to help you, but he is. Then Jesus said to them, children have you any food? And they said, no. Absolutely not. Do you know, one of the ways Jesus gets our attention more than anything else? He touches our finances. You might be running, you might be doing all this. When he starts touching your finances you are like, oh Jesus, help me. What can you do?

James Greer (18:02):
He said to them, you know, cast your nets on the right side of the boat. Now let's obey him. They were professional fishermen. They could have just said, Hey, we know what we're doing and you'll find some. So they obeyed. They cast the nets and now they were not able to draw in because the multitudes of fish. When I see that, when I see multitudes of fish, I see it was an abundance of fish. And God wants to bless us abundantly. Every race, every color, he's got abundance. He's ready. He wants us to go. He wants to bless us. Matter of fact, in Romans 2:4, it says, the goodness of God often brings us to repentance. He blessed them so much.

James Greer (18:17):
Can I say something? The real blessings of God and our income does not really depends so much on the virus. Our job, our economy, right? Where we work, as much as it is who we work for and the blessings of God. Jesus could speak one word in your life. You could obey him and it could radically change your future, emotionally, spiritually, and yes financially.

James Greer (19:27):
So, let's look at the future plans that Jesus had. Therefore, the disciple who Jesus loved. I love that one. Therefore, the disciple whom Jesus loved, Jesus had a favorite. Some of you all watching this, you have favorite kids and you say no Brother James don't say that. My kids might say, who's the favorite? And you've got a favorite. You love them all. Jesus favorite was John. And John said to Peter, it's the Lord, now then Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord. He put on his outer garment and he plunged into the sea. He said, man, it's Jesus, isn't it? And you know, he plunged into the sea, and said, I'm going to go see. Therefore the disciples whom Jesus. But the other disciples came in a little boat, dragged the net of fish.

James Greer (20:20):
Then as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish it laid on it and bread.they haven't even brought the fish in yet. It was Jesus and he said, Hey, I've already got fish and I've already got bread. Jesus already had everything he needed. By the way, Jesus doesn't need anything you have, and Jesus doesn't need anything that I have. But, then Jesus was teaching them a lesson, Jesus said to them, bring me some fish which you've caught. Now, it already said the verse before, that is intentionally that Jesus already had fish. He already had bread. Now he's asking them to bring some.

James Greer (20:31):
Simon Peter, he went out and dragged the nets in the land full of large fish. It was 153, showed how blessed they were, how abundant it was, and there were so many and that did not break. See, Jesus can bless us so abundantly then we don't lose what he gives us. And Jesus said to them, you know, come and eat breakfast. Yet none of the disciples dare asked, who are you? Knowing that it was the Lord. Can I tell you something? He asked them to bring some fish. It tells you the verse before he already had the fish. He already had the bread. But, let me tell you what, he's trying to teach you a lesson, he's trying to teach me.

James Greer (21:25):
Listen, Jesus does not need anything that you have, but he wants us to learn. There's more blessing to give than that is to receive. He wants us to learn that there's more blessing to obey him than to be selfish. Once they obeyed him, once they learned the gift, they had such a blessing. They couldn't handle the blessing. That's what God wants for your life. He wants to bless you so much that you can't handle it.

James Greer (22:21):
If you read the rest of the story and we're not going to, I'm going to tell it to you. Jesus then comes to Simon Peter. He says, Simon, do you love me? And he said, yes, you know I do. And he does it three times. And at the end he said, Lord, you know that I love you. And Jesus kept saying, well, feed my sheep, feed my lambs. Three times. Jesus showed himself to disciples. Three times Peter denied Jesus. Three times. Peter said, I love you. Jesus was wanting Peter to find his new purpose and his new passion, because he knew when Peter found his passion, his life would radically change. After he had an encounter with Jesus. He left his nets and he went back to do what he was called to do. Fishermen of men.

James Greer (22:49):
I told you the story before. Almost every Sunday I tell you, it's Acts 2:41 And it says, Peter went up to preach. They gladly received his word and I got to baptize one and I was so happy. And that day they'd baptized 3000, were added to the church. Can you imagine? I would get tired, but I would love to be that tired. Amen. So for y'all that are online, that are watching, that are live, and you want to get baptized, now is the day. Amen?

James Greer (23:34):
Let me tell you a true story. Janice Rollins, she saved and secure more than anybody I know. Anybody that can go through what she just went through, is secure and is sound as she. But you know what she told me early this morning, she said, Brother James, I know I'm saved and she has peace even with even with the tumor removed. She said, not long ago, I wish I'd been rebaptized. She said, tell them if they feel a tug on their heart to be baptized. Do it now. She said, I told Randy when he was in the hospital to make sure he was right with God. It wasn't two more weeks I was in the hospital. Need to make sure I was right with God. I'm here to tell you, those people online, you need to make sure you're right in God with God. Go see you. Don't know what tomorrow bring in for you. So, whether it's to accept Christ, where's the follow through in baptism, whether it's to join church, today is the day for you to do that.

James Greer (24:41):
Later on in Acts 4:13, they talked about it when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, he's now found his passion. Now he's bold. They proceeded, he was uneducated and he was untrained, but they knew one thing about him that he had been with Jesus. Wouldn't you like to know that? Wouldn't you like to people to see? I don't know. One thing about, I know that he is has education, doesn't have education. I know one thing that that person has been with Jesus. Amen?

James Greer (26:04):
I want to start to close with how you can go from being a passive Christian to a passionate Christian. We have too many passive Christians. I want you to be passionate. I want you to be filled. I want you to be fearless. Number one, you've got to be born again. You've got to be born again. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, if anyone be in Christ, he's a new creation. Old things pass away. Behold, all things become new. Listen, if you've been born again, you're not the same person. I didn't say you didn't sin, but you're not the same person you were before. You don't have the same desire. So if you, that's how I knew I was not saved at a young age. That's why I knew that I had to give my life to Jesus Christ. I was baptized when I was young, but I didn't get any better. I got worse. So, I knew I needed to give my life to Jesus Christ. I got rebaptized at 30 something years old. .So you've got to be born again.

James Greer (26:15):
So, you see you can't have a passion for Christ. If Christ doesn't live in you. Second of all, you should get baptized. I was so excited to baptize Lexi, this week. Baptism didn't save her, but it was her next step in obedience. When Jesus was baptized and when he came up, the father said, this was my beloved son who I am well pleased. I believe every time you're obedient to God and you follow through in baptism, I believe the heavens open up and God says, Hey, this is my son. Now this is my daughter who I'm well pleased. Please the father. Obedience brings blessings.

James Greer (26:51):
Third, you have to realize what you're missing. Psalmist said 31:19. I love this. In the new living version it says, how great is thy goodness, you have stored up for me that fear you. God said, I want you to know if you're a Christian, you ready? God has all this goodness is stored up, it's laid up for you in heaven. He's prepared. He's prepared for those who trust him. Why? in the presence of the son of man, you know what? You know what he's wanting to do? What he's saying that God's wanting to do. He said, I want to bless them before watching the world. God says, I have all the blessings stored up for you in heaven, and he said, those that fear God that want to do what God's called to those who have a passion for God. He said, I want to so bless them. I want to bless them before watching the world. When they look at them, they have to say something God's got. It's just got to be a God thing with them.

James Greer (27:54):
Four, you have to be applying God's promises. I mean, I give you promises every single Sunday. You ought to write them down. You ought to quote them. You ought to send them to people. I give you a promise every Sunday at least one. It's God's word that changes things. God's words gives you passion. It's God's words that cause you to be fearless. 2 Peter 1:4 I just, I love this one by which having been given to us exceedingly, great and precious promises. What are they? They're exceedingly, they're great, and they're precious. Man, when you get God's promises, God's word, and you meet the condition, they're not only good, they're exceedingly great. They're very precious. The promises, why? That through these you may be partakers of divine nature. God says, I want you to be a partaker of not the earthly nature. I want you to be a partaker of divine nature. Where you can escape the corruption of this world. Start applying it. Start applying God's promise. Start applying it today to your problem. What problem do you have? God's got a promise. Meet the condition of the promise.

James Greer (29:05):
Fifth, why don't you attempt something great for God? Just attempt something great for God. Something that's too big for you. That's been the greatest things in my life for me just to be sitting here preaching to thousands of thousands of people. Listen, I love it. Every Sunday when we were preaching to a thousand people, but I've gotten to where I love it now. Wait a minute. I want people to come back. Don't misunderstand me, but listen, I was talking to Josh, our executive pastor, and he said, do you know every Sunday now think about it this way. You're getting a freeze to thousands and thousands of people, not a thousand but thousands and thousands. I thank you for watching. I thank you for being online. I thank God for the opportunity.

James Greer (29:48):
Matthew 19:26 says, that Jesus looked at them and said, with men it's impossible, but with God, all things are possible. Did you know that there's only thing that's impossible for me is the things that are outside the will of God. When is the last time you really attend to something from God? That was great. That was big. Why don't you ask God? God, what great thing do you want me to attempt? It could be monetarily, financially. It can be teaching. It can be giving. It can be a ministry. I don't know what it is, that's between you and God. That's why you need to ask God. So, if you'll do those four things, God will begin to ratify things. God will begin to radically change your life. Now we'll get ready to close. I want to have a prayer with you and pray for you.

James Greer (30:55):
Father, I thank you for today. I thank you for your word. I thank you for the illustration. How Peter went from such a passive Christian back to a passionate follower. I pray for those that are watching right now that they have a desire. The Holy spirit puts a fire inside of them that they say, man, I don't want to be passive anymore. I want to be passionate. If you never accepted Christ and you're not a new creature, if you hadn't ever made a change, man, just put it online right now. Say, man, I need to accept Christ in just a minute they'll tell you how to do that. Maybe you want to follow through in baptism, why not? We'll make the arrangements. You can do that. Maybe you want to join the church. Maybe some of you have been putting it off almost every single Sunday. We have people that are online, they joined the church. Maybe you have an unbelievable burden, and you need us to pray with you and to pray for you. Put it on there and let us pray with you and pray for you. But don't leave today with a burden, that you don't have peace. Because see, I believe when you're right with God and you're filled with the Holy spirit, that you're not fearful. You may have times with fear, but you're not fearful. You're fearless. God, I pray that for everyone here today, it's in Christ's name I pray. Amen.

James Greer (32:41):
Well, Hey everyone, on behalf of pastor James, thanks so much for tuning in and worshiping with us today. Before you go, I'd like to take a moment to talk to you about next steps. You know, here at journey, one of our core values is growing people change. Now growing people aren't perfect, but growing. People are changing and we just believe this, that the next step continue to help us grow and continue to help us change. And so maybe you'd like to take a next step today. Right now you should be seeing some links pop up in your comment section. Maybe you'd like to make Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life. Maybe you would like to give of your tithes and offerings. Maybe you'd like to join Journey Church or be biblically publicly baptized. Maybe you'd like to join a small group because you know that you can't do life alone. Whatever next step you'd like to take, simply click the link in your comments section and follow the instructions that are given. Hey, once again, thanks so much for worshiping with us today. We can't wait to see you again next Sunday.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360