Time To Dream | Setbacks and Shipwrecks

Understanding How To Find Godly Advice In Hard Times

James Greer
Aug 22, 2021    35m
It is important to understand how to find godly advice in hard times because not all advice is good advice. Seek the counsel of God and don't let setbacks upset you. God's plan and purpose will be accomplished. There is no setback that can stop God. 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: [00:00:00] We've got to remember, I love the name of our church, Journey Church, because life is a journey. Amen? But, you know, the greatest part of the journey is when you start the journey with Jesus, and you got to make sure you end your journey correctly that you're in Heaven one day. Amen? And so what I decided is that's one of the ways that I'm going to end up having an opportunity to witness to people is to make sure they start the journey and end the journey correctly. And I hope you do too. I want to start today. I want to pray for Afghanistan. I think it's a tragedy. I feel for the people, and I think the only thing we can do is pray. I also understand God is in control. And people often say, why do things like that happen? It’s because of sin. Because of sin, a fallen world. And that's why. God will, though we don't understand, He will take all things one day and turn them around and still make them work out. He's still in control. But I'd like to take just a moment and pray for that. And then we'll go on. Father, we pray for Afghanistan. We pray for the people there. God, there's Christians there that will be persecuted. And God, we know that you're in control. We pray for President Biden. We pray for his heart. We pray that you'd send the right people into his life to guide and direct him. We're so thankful that you're in control of every situation, every circumstance, and that you can take them as bad and as horrible as they are and still put them together one day, turn them around for our good. It’s in Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

James Greer: [00:01:39] We'll continue our series on it's Time to Dream. And Paul had a dream. Paul had a dream of one day going to Rome and appealing his sentence that he had been jailed for two years to Caesar. He was really going to tell Caesar about Jesus. And he'd been put in jail. And sometimes our dreams seems like we're set back. Our purpose isn’t being fulfilled. We feel like the people don't listen to us. Sometimes the people closest to us seems like they don't listen to. It seems like there's just derailed and setback. The only person that can really derail our dreams and God's purpose is us. Even though Paul was in prison and now they were putting him on a ship and they were going to sail to Rome, he told them, let's don't go. They wouldn't listen to him. There was a storm coming. And he tried to tell a little them, let’s don’t sail, and they wouldn't listen. Many times, just like our children don't listen to us, youth. Sometimes our loved ones don't listen to us. And if they keep going in the same direction, destruction is going to come. There's going to be setbacks. What do you do? Do you talk to your loved ones? Do tell them there's going to be a setback? We'll see what Paul did. First of all, I think that me, number one, have to be careful who we listen to. In Acts 27, verse 9, we see that, Paul said, they had lost a lot of time and the weather was becoming dangerous for the sea travel because it was late in the fall. And Paul spoke to the ship officers about, what he told them is trouble’s ahead.

James Greer: [00:03:43] If we go, there's going to be a wreck. And sometimes I think that we should warn those people that we love that if they keep living the way that they're going to live, that their life is going to be destruction. But many times we don't do it. I know there's times after time that I feel like I have my kids or grandkids or loved ones or people in church that I wish I had warned, if you keep living like this, if you keep acting like this, your marriage is going to fall apart, your life is going to fall apart. There's going to be destruction. But many times I don't do it. The Bible says in 1 John 5:16, it says, if anyone sees his brethren. Say brethren. Because they were talking about this was written to a Christian when he's talking about a brother. If you see your brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death. So therefore there is a sin that leads to death. Amen? Uh-oh. The sin that leads us to death, I do not say that you should pray about that one. In other words, the Bible says there's a sin that leads to death and you should ask him and give him life for those who commit the sin that lives the death.

James Greer: [00:04:58] He said that the sin that lead us in death is a habitual sin. It's a sin that you've been convicted to stop doing. It's a sin that you've been warned that you should stop. It's that you sin one time, and bam, you're dead because we’d all be dead. I wouldn't have anybody to preach to. This is not a, this is talking to Christians, and it's not a sin that will send you to hell. Because only one sin will send you to hell, and that's denying Jesus Christ as your Savior. Amen? This is a sin that leads to a physical death. In other words, God saying there is a sin that Christians continue to sin and continue to sin and continue to sin. And I don't know how many times that is. Only God knows. I don't know if that's 15 times, 1,500 times. I don't know if it's 1,000 times. But God has convicted and convicted and convicted. And what's happened is God convicted them so many times, they get callous to the sin. Almost till it’s no sin to them anymore. And many times God just brings them home. But God says, maybe there's a time that you should warn them, and maybe they should live. Paul was on a ship, and he was trying to warn the people. But they would not listen. James 5, verses 19 says, brethren, if anyone among you wonder from the truth. Because see, I think that you don't just leave God.

James Greer: [00:06:33] I think you don't just leave church. I don't think you just turn from the truth. I think you wonder. I'd like you skip one Sunday, then you skip two Sundays and then you stop reading the Bible and then you get out from out in the Word and then you stop listening to the Word and then you wonder away from the Word. But if someone turns him back, makes a difference, let him know he who turns a sinner from his error of his ways saves his soul from death and covers multitudes of sin. Because see, if you keep wondering from the truth, your soul is your emotions. Have you ever known somebody, they went to church and they were in the Word and they were under the Word and the couples were and they were just loving God and they stopped coming to church and they got out from under the Word. And then all of a sudden, their emotions were just shot. They started having problems, and they just wonder what happened. I say that to say sometimes you just, maybe we should warn them. Paul did. He said, men, he said, I believe there's trouble ahead. It’s trouble if we just keep going this way. We're going to be shipwrecked, lose some cargo, danger of our lives as well.

James Greer: [00:07:58] I mean that's pretty dangerous. Amen? But the officer in charge of the prisoners listened more to the ship's captain and the owner than Paul. Well, I can understand that. Paul was a prisoner. Paul, the prisoner says, hey, man, we shouldn't go. He said, man, I'm going to listen to the captain. Sometimes, hey, sometimes those below us may be listened to better than those above us. Amen? Just because a person's in charge doesn't mean he always has the most wisdom. Sometimes the people below us have more wisdom than those people above us. Amen? You got to be careful who you listen to. I know many times there’s young people, marriages, I mean, there's no telling how many lives and marriages would be saved if they would just listen to the right people. Amen? But you got to be careful because the more authority, the more power you have, the harder it is to listen to the people that are under you that are trying to help you. I can remember, especially when I was younger, in my 30s and 40s, man, I didn't want to listen to anybody. I thought I knew it all. I really thought I could run the whole world.

James Greer: [00:09:11] I can remember how many heartaches, how many problems it would have saved if I would have just listened. I can remember so many times that people I worked with and people that worked for me, if I listened to them, how much easier life would have been. We just got to be careful because I'm telling you, I don't know where you are in life, I don't care if you're an employee or an employee, I don't care if you're a manager or you're working for the manager, we all have to be careful. See, the truth is wealth without wisdom will always lead to a, you ready? A wreck. There was a time that I was running a particular company and a salaried employee of mine won a million dollars. Yeah. Won a million dollars. And I thought, wow, this guy's got it. A million dollars. Went out and bought a new truck. I don’t blame him. Went out and bought a new house. I don’t blame him. Went out and bought a business. He didn't know what he's talking about. I did blame him. Went out and bought a few more things, didn't know what he was talking about without getting any counsel. He did, let me revise, he did get financial counselor from an ungodly financial person. Within 10 years, he's broke. Wealth without wisdom will equal a wreck.

James Greer: [00:10:45] Be careful who you listen to. We often look to advice from those with authority and power from a worldly view instead of a godly view. I see it happen all the time. I know of one of the greatest preachers in the world whose wife decided she wanted counseling. And she went to a worldly counselor. He went home one day, and nothing was left in his house but his phone. And he often said, I was on a trip that, when he said, you never know that you really depend on God till you have nothing but God to depend on. And he told the pastors and the people in the room, I would now say, be careful. If somebody asked for counseling, to send them to godly counsel. And I would say to you, be careful who you listen to. Be careful who you tell your loved ones to go get counsel from. It's always this. Say, what’s the wise thing to do, not what can I do. You can do a lot of things. But you say, what's the wise thing to do? You can go buy a house, you can go buy a car, you can do a lot of things. But is that the wisest thing to do? Always ask yourself the question, is this the wise thing to do before you buy something, before you change jobs, before you take an engagement, before you do anything. Is this the wise thing to do? Not can I do it. I have people come see me. I'm asking God, can I open the door if I can get this house? No. If you got good credit, you can get the house, but it might not make you happy. It might not be the wise thing to do. Amen? Ask God, is this the last thing to do before you take advice? Amen? Fourth, remember, it’s still true. After pride comes the fall. I'm not going to listen. This is a prisoner. Why would I listen to this guy? This is an employee. This is a youth. This is a child. I mean why am I going to listen to this guy? Be careful. See, God often interrupts us and gives us guidance and directions by the most unlikely people.

James Greer: [00:13:03] The Bible still says in Proverbs 11:2, when pride comes, uh-oh, then comes shame. But with humility, it's wisdom. I'm telling you that pride brings destruction even today. A man's pride is going to bring him low. But in humility, in the Spirit, he returns with honor. Let me tell you, I love this verse. Matthew 5:5. For those that are humble are happy. You want to be happy? Be humble. I did this the other day. I do very little counseling. I'll tell y’all, you want to come? Don't. It happen again. I decided to do it. I said, okay, I'll do counseling. They came in. I gave them a piece of paper. It had these three versus on it. After pride comes destruction. Right? The humble are happy. I thought you read those verses. Pride, destruction. Humble, happy. Right? They wanted to be prideful. I figured they wanted destruction. Right off the bat, I said, apparently, you don't want to listen. You just want me to listen to you. One of them got up and left. I'm not a good counsellor. Steven, you are. You're so good. If y'all want counselling, go see Pastor Steven. Amen. Let's hear for Pastor Steven. I seen him in action. He's good. He gets wisdom. He listens to them first. And then he turns it around on them. That is the wise thing to do, Steven. You’re good. Thank you. Isn’t he? He’s good. I’m not.

James Greer: [00:14:55] I just want to tell you right off the bat. Go to Steven. You think he's the children's pastor, but he's the adult counselor. Amen? In fact, in fact, anybody that could be a children's pastor can deal with adults. That's why I get him on the front row. Anyway Philippians 1:9. This is my prayer for the congregation and for me, especially now. That your love may abound and still more and more in knowledge and in all discernment. That's a great verse. Man, wouldn't that be a great verse not only for yourself, but for your mate, for your kids, and for your loved ones? Second, I want you to remember, we often suffer setbacks, shipwrecks because of others. What those do around us affect us. You got to be careful who you have around you, but even sometimes you don't have a choice. Sometimes it's your mate. Not mine. Oh, she don’t come till the third service. But just in case you're watching. It can be your mate. I mean there's people that are doing what's right, and their mates just wrecked their lives. I see it all the time. I've been doing this for years and years. Amen? I know godly men, godly women, they're doing what they could. They love the Lord and their life’s a shipwreck. Kids. You can say, okay, kids, you're on your own now. But man, it still affects you when they miss their lives up, doesn't it? Your friends, your company. I was with one of the guides this week. And I said, how'd you end up being a guide? He said, well, I was working for one company, and they sold out and they fired me. I went to work for another company, and they sold out and they fired me. I said, you know, after I've been fired two or three times, I thought I better go in business for myself. Might be a good idea.

James Greer: [00:17:10] So what I'm trying to tell you is you can have shipwreck and setbacks because of what other people do. Paul said in Acts 27:18, the storm was so fierce. He told them not to go, by the way. Y'all ready? They went anyway. The storm was so fierce, by the next day, they threw some of the ship's cargo overboard. Okay? That didn’t end. They keep going. And then on the third day, with their bare hands, they threw overboard some of the ship's gear. Verse 20 says this. For several days, they could not even see neither sun nor stars. This is a storm, brother. The storm, the wind kept blowing. And we finally gave up all hope of even being saved. Now they think, we're going to die. I mean this thing's bad. Since none of us, now they haven’t eaten for a long time. How about this? Paul stood up. And he told the men, y’all should’ve listened to me. They hadn't seen stars or sun or moon. They hadn’t eaten in several days. Paul says, hey, you should’ve listen to me. Wouldn't you like to tell your kids that sometimes? Y’all should’ve listened to me. If we would’ve stayed in Crete, we wouldn't have all this damage nor this loss. I mean wouldn't you like to say sometimes, you should’ve just listened to me? But anyway, he didn't leave it there. Since none of us had eaten anything for a long time, Paul says, what? You should have listened to me. You know what happens sometimes? Sometimes you won't listen to you till you've hurt bad enough you have to. God's purpose is going to be accomplished no matter what in your life. But let me tell you what. Some of you right now have been setbacks, shipwrecks. Maybe it's not your fault. Maybe somebody else made, maybe you made the decision. But I'm going to tell you something. If you go back and listen to the right counsel and you go back and listen to God's Word, you can still go forward because nobody can keep you back but you. Amen? Remember, God's purpose is going to be accomplished with you or without you.

James Greer: [00:19:37] There was a queen. Her name was Esther. And the king was going to annihilate all the Jews. Her uncle’s name was Mordechai. Mordechai, he sent a reply to Esther. He said, hey, don't think for a moment just because you're queen in the palace that you're going to escape with all the Jews being killed. No, don't even think about it. Because listen, if you keep quiet at this time like this, deliverance and relief. It's going to come for the Jews. It will arrive from some other place. But you and your relatives are going to be killed. But who knows if perhaps you were made queen for such a time as this? In other words, what her uncle was saying, listen, you're the one’s going to miss out. You and your people are getting killed anyway. God will send somebody. What God's saying is my plan will be accomplished with or without you. You're the one who's going to miss out. You can't stop it, but you can miss out on God's plan. So why not be a part of God's plan? Amen? See, there's going to be setbacks, but God's plan will be accomplished. Sometimes you're not going to listen till you hurt bad enough that you have to listen. You should have listened to me. I personally don't say this very much, but there's many times I wish I would’ve said it.

James Greer: [00:20:52] One reason I don't say it is because I don't want people say I’m holier than thou or self-righteous or prideful. Another reason I don't say you should’ve listened is because I was afraid of losing friendships. Looking back, I really pondered this after I read the message. Over the years, I wish many times I would have said, see, you should’ve listened to me. And if I had said it at the right time humbly, many of them wouldn’t have kept repeating the same things. And I go back and I could see marriages that would still been together maybe. When I saw it coming, I said, I wish you had listened. A loving way, not an arrogant way, not a funny way. And just say, hey, man, you're heading for destruction if you keep living like this, if you keep acting like this. And that's what Paul was doing. He was really saying, he was trying to get their attention where they’d change their lives and change their ways. Third, it is never too late to listen. It's never too late to listen to God. Never too late to go forward. He said, now I beg you. Cheer up. Oh, you've only been with no food, no sun, no stars. Paul says, listen to me and cheer up. Cheer up because you're going to be saved. Only the ship’s going to be lost. I mean I love it. I mean I love the way Paul says, I love Paul. I mean, you know? You've only had no sun, no stars for several days. You haven’t eaten for many days. Why don't you just cheer up? I think you're ready to listen after all that. I'll tell you though, there's many times people will not listen till they’ve lost enough, heard enough, they’re ready to listen and hear you.

James Greer: [00:22:55] But then he tells them why. You ready? I belong to God, and I worship Him. Last night, an angel, God sent angel. Paul’s telling them why they need to cheer up. Paul's telling them no matter what you're going through, you can cheer up if you belong to God. I wish that was all it said. I wish I could say Journey Church, as long as you belong to God, cheer up. Amen? That's not what it says. It said, cheer up. I belong to God, and I worship God. Uh-oh. Not only do I belong to God, I worship God. I've been preaching long enough I know there's a lot of people, I would say 80%, 90% of people of every Sunday morning, if I come and I'm preaching, you would say, I belong to God. If I said, everybody stand up that belongs to God, 95% percent of everybody would stand up. But if I said, do you worship God, we’d eliminate bunch of people. See, that's the difference. That's the problem. Paul said, hey, you can cheer up because not only do I belong to God, I worship God. Because see, Exodus 34:14 says, for you shall worship no other gods for I am the God and I am a jealous God. He's jealous. He doesn't want you to worship other gods. He doesn’t want you to have idolatry in your life. See, it's very, very easy to get out of the habit of worshipping God and develop a habit of idolatry.

James Greer: [00:24:31] A Christian in idolatry is looking to anything other than Jesus to meet your needs, physically, emotionally, financially. That's idolatry. When you have pain, where do you go to? When you have a need, when you have a hurt, what you celebrate, all that's idolatry. You ready? It takes repeated intentional awareness, a repeated intentional awareness and action to stay away from idolatry. It takes repeated intentional awareness and action to stay away from idolatry and continue to worship the true and living God. That's a mouthful, but it's true. This is so important. You don't just accidentally worship God. You have to intentionally, repeatedly worship God. That's why Paul's good news is this. No matter what you're going through in your whole life, you can cheer up if you belong to God and you repeatedly worship God because no matter what storm comes into your life, He'll turn it around for your good. Oh, that's good, Brother James. Fourth, God has a message for you. He always has a message, and He always has a mission. And He says, don't be afraid. That's the message. Don't be afraid because I'm going stand trial before the Emperor. I got a mission.

James Greer: [00:26:11] Do you understand every single day of your life that God has a message and a mission for you? God says, I got a message every day of your life. Don't be afraid. I got a mission. Seek, serve, and save every single day of your life. And because of you, God's going to save the lives of everyone on the ship. God says, I'm going to use you to accomplish my message. I mean, therefore, guess what you can do? Verse 25, he says, you can cheer up. Why you going to cheer up? Because God's going to use you. I got a message. Don't be afraid. I got a mission. I'm going to go speak to the Emperor. Cheer up. I'm sure that God will do exactly what He promises. Man, God's going to always do what He says. You don't have to worry about. You got a promise. You can count on it. But we're going to first be shipwrecked on an island. Big deal. God sent an angel to him. Today, you ready? God sent an angel to him. Today He sends His Word and His promises and His people. It's very important. You know? Other people can be saved, protected, and delivered. You ready? Because of your relationship with Jesus Christ.

James Greer: [00:27:20] Why were the people on the ship saved? Not because of what they did. Because they are with Paul. Many of your kids, many of your loved ones, many of the people around you, many of the people you work with, you'll never know until Heaven how many people are protected, delivered, and later on saved because of your relationship with Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us in Psalms 37:25, I've been young, now I'm old. And yet I'm not seeing the righteous forsaken. You ready? Nor his descendants begging bread. Some of your kids and grandkids have been delivered, saved, and protected because of your relationship with Christ, and they don't even know it. It does matter how your relationship is with God. The Psalmist said, who then are those who fear God? I'll tell you. He who instructs him in the ways chosen of him. But that's not all it says. The next verse says, he will spend his days in prosperity and his what? Descenders will inherit the land. I'm telling you, God says, I'm going to bless you and you're descendants. Praise the Lord, for all who fear the Lord and trust in Him, blessed beyond expression. Yes, happy is the man who delights in His commandments. Why? His who? His what? Children shall be honored everywhere for good men’s sons have a special inheritance.

James Greer: [00:28:52] I’m going to tell you, you will never know then importance and what's more, many times your kids and your grandkids, I believe there's some husbands and some wives that are blessed and spared because of their mates. If you obey God, you will have something to leave to your grandkids. If you don't obey God, those who live right, you ready? They're going to get what left. Thank you, Jesus. God just says, hey, those people just blowing it and giving it away, God gives it to the other people. I appreciate it, man. Some people are just giving it to me. I don't understand it. I'd rather you have it. But if God's going to give it away, I'll just take it. Just the way it is. That's what God says. You know? He's going to give to the grandkids and those that don’t obey by God, He's going to give it the ones who are living right. Some people say, I just can't hold onto it, I just can't hold on. Start living right. Amen? Closing. I'm having too much fun. Isn’t it a good day? Amen? You see what letting me off does. Anyway. You have to be careful who you listen to. Amen?

James Greer: [00:30:20] First of all, the most important person you listen to in the world is Jesus Christ. To listen to Him, you have to have the Holy Spirit in you. To get the Holy Spirit in you, you've got to know you sinned, believe Jesus died for your sins, invite Him into your heart to be the Lord of your life. And if you're here today and you've never done that, that's the way you start your journey. That's the way to end your journey. Maybe you know you're headed to the wrong way. You're heading for a shipwreck. Maybe you know somebody that's about to have a shipwreck. Maybe you're the one that needs to take the 1 John 5:16. If anyone sees his brother, a Christian, sinning a sin and it’s not into death and you want to warn them, you want to pray for them. You might save their life. Physical life. Maybe it’s the day that you do that. Maybe God's laid upon your heart that there's somebody that you need to call, somebody that you need to pray for. And you just say, hey, just because I love you, I'm not trying to be prideful, but I just want to say, if you keep living the way you live, it's going to lead to destruction. I love you too much. I wish you'd turn back to God. Just remember that pride goes before structure. Maybe you're the one that's suffering from the shipwreck. Maybe you've had a setback. Nobody can keep you there but you. Maybe you need to cheer up. You can cheer up because listen, if you belong to God, if you'll come back and worship God, He says, hey, I'm going to use you to accomplish my purpose.

James Greer: [00:32:13] Paul stood up right in the midst of the storm. He said, listen, everybody, cheer up. Don't be afraid. God’s not only going to save us, God's going to use you. And if you can truly say I belong to God and I'm worshipping Him. The reason I say that because I'm afraid every single Sunday, there's people say, hey, I belong to God. But are you worshipping Him? Is He first place in your life? And if not, maybe today's the day you don't just say, hey, I belong to God, but I need to go back and I need to worship Him. He needs to be one that meets every need in my life. I need to turn to Him. I need to depend upon Him, not my job, not my mate, not anybody else. He needs to be first place. I need to spend time with Him. I need to let Him love me, and I need to love Him. And I know I haven't been doing that. But today I want to recommit my life to Jesus Christ where I can cheer up and not have to worry about any need being met in my entire life. Not emotionally, not spiritually, not financially, and not physically. Because God said, I'll save you.

James Greer: [00:33:23] Would you stand and let me pray with you and pray for you? God, you're such a great God, I pray everybody that can hear my voice hears your voice and they hear the words. Say, cheer up, cheer up. They’re sure that every word that God promises will come true. If they have a problem, they get God's promise, and they can know that it'll come true. I pray for those that are in shipwrecks, that right now that they would turn to you and they would cheer up. I pray for those, God, that don't know you, that today would be the day that they start their journey with you. I pray that nobody leaves, God, the same way that they came. I pray they live with a cheerful heart, a happy heart, a holy heart. God, those that need to come and join the church, today would be the day. Those that need to follow through in public baptism, today would be the day. Those that need somebody pray with them and to pray for them, today would be the day. I ask it in all in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Bruce Goulart: [00:34:36] On behalf of Pastor James, thanks for doing our online experience today. Man, what an amazing sermon on shipwrecks and setbacks. Man, if you don't want to pray with you right now, we have people on standby willing to pray with you. There's a link down in the description that you click on and fill out, someone will get with you right away. Man, thank y’all again for joining us this morning, and I hope to see y’all next week.

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