Finding the Favor of God | Vision for God's Favor

Understanding The Vision Of God's Favor For Christians

James Greer
Jan 2, 2023    27m
To see the vision of God's favor for Christians, healing needs to take place. Know that the purpose God has for you is bigger than you can imagine. Change your perspective to one of redemption not one in darkness. God will work things out in your favor. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

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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: Our new series is going to be finding in the favor of God. And listen, when you find the favor of God, you'll have the best year you've ever had. Amen. But this Sunday, I'm going to be talking about how to be healed from past hurts. Now, listen, if you hadn't been hurt in 2022, you'll probably be hurt in 2023. So everybody in here, you're going to need this message. Amen. And not only you're going to need it today, you'll need to learn how to use it and repeat it in the future. And not only do I know that these three things will work, I didn't really come up with them. Now, Jesus taught us how to do a spiritual application. But there's a man named Victor Franklin that was in the Nazi concentration camp, and he said he learned to apply these principles that were called the logotherapy. But we're going to use them in biblical content. And what he did was when he got out and he lived through the concentration camp and then one of the VA hospitals was having this enormous amount of suicides, and they put him in that hospital. And when he applied these principles for the years he was there, the suicide rate went to zero.

James Greer: Now, what I want to tell you is this will help you and it'll help you move past your hurts. Now we have pains that we all have to live with, and we'll live with the rest of our life. But our pains can turn into us having a purpose for the pain. Now, I also want to warn you, there's times, there's people that have mental illnesses that need to make sure they get medication to go along with their meditation. Amen. And I'm very serious about that. And so but there are some principles that we're going to apply today. If y'allow the Holy Spirit to help you, you can begin to move past your hurts and you can go into 2023 with the best year ever. Amen. So we're going to call it leading and healing. And I love what Jesus said in Matthew 20:26 and 28, and I'm going to read that in the beginning, even before we start the message. And it said, yet it shall not be among you, but whosoever desires to be great among you, let him be the servant who desires to be first among you. Let him be the slave. And here it goes. Just as the son of man, he didn't come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as ransom for many. Now there's the three principles. I'm going to talk about them. I'm going to give them to you, and then I'm going to preach about them. Man Number one. Number one, you have to have a purpose larger than yourself. Now, Jesus did his purpose. When Jesus came, his purpose was to please the Father. That's why Jesus said his whole time on Earth, his purpose was to please the Father. Now, I don't know what your purpose is, but you need a purpose bigger than you if you want to move past your hurts.

James Greer: Now, it also needs to include other people besides yourself. It needs to be a purpose larger than you, and you need to be accountable for helping other people. Jesus' purpose was to please the Father. The second principle is probably the most important one I had to learn is you have to have a redemptive perspective on life or an eternal perspective. With Jesus, his redemptive or eternal perspective is he was willing to die to save me and you. Amen. That was his eternal perspective. He says he lived to die. In other words, he lived with a redemptive perspective, knowing that he was going to go to the cross. He was going to suffer. He was going to be put to death. But he could do it because he had a redemptive perspective and eternal perspective. Some of y'all have been hurt in the past, but you have not learned the redemptive or eternal perspective how to apply it to help you now and in the future. And if you don't do that, you'll live in the past. Third, you have to bring people along with you. You have to have a community. You have to have a small group.

James Greer: Jesus had the 12. He lived his life with the 12, and he poured his life into the 12. And those 12, when Jesus left, changed the whole entire world. Those 12 had to be people that you can learn to be open and you can be honest with and is community you live life with. You help them and they help you and you can share life with. That doesn't have to be 12. In fact, I don't think you can totally be honest with 12 people. I think if you have two, three, four, you're doing good. But you need community. You need people to bring life with and you go through life with. You can do those three things, and you can do them on a regular basis, you can begin to move past your hurts. Everybody had some kind of hurts in 2023 that they need to start moving past. And you need to let your pain begin to have a purpose where you don't get stuck in the past and live there. And there's way too many people that are still living in the past and won't let God use their hurt for a purpose where they can move forward in the future.

James Greer: When I say that our new series is going to be finding the favor with God, there's going to be a couple of verses that you'll hear over and over and over. And the psalmist said in Psalms 90:16, it says, Let your work be manifested to your servants. That's us. Amen. Let God's work be manifested in Journey Church, which it has been, and it's going to be. And your glorious power to their children. That's us. And then let the favor of the Lord, our God, be upon us. Man, don't you want the favor of God to be upon you? Amen. And prosper for us the work of our hands. Don't you want the prosper of your work or your hands? Oh, prosper the work of our hands, God. Another translation puts it this way. It says, Lord, our God, may your blessings or favor be with us. Give us success in all we do. Isn't it great? Because when you find the favor of God, you can have success in every single thing that you do. And man, in 2023, that's what I want for my life. That's what I want for Journey Church life. That's what I want for every single member of Journey Church. Amen. But 2022 and the last two years have been kind of strange years, haven't they?

James Greer: And what I want us to do is to learn to lead past that and lead with healing. We're going to learn the three things to do to do that. But let's look together. Step number one. Step number one, you have to live on a day-to-day basis with a purpose bigger than you that helps other people. They need to almost depend upon you. I can tell you, if I didn't study almost every single day with a purpose, that other lives depended on what I was going to learn and what I was going to teach, I wouldn't study like I should. If I didn't know that I was going to preach every single Sunday and if I didn't believe what God was teaching me, what other lives depended upon me, number one, I wouldn't study every week like I should. But number two, I know what it was like when I didn't do it. I would become easier discouraged and depressed when I didn't do what God called me to do, when I didn't have a purpose that was bigger than me. I went through a time when I depended just on me and I gave up on my purpose and meaning, and I would try to do other things. But I would easily become discouraged and depressed. But when I study, not only does God speak to me, not only does God get me excited, I believe that I have that's purpose as much larger than me. I believe that God gives me a bigger purpose. And my purpose is not only for me, but my purpose is for you, not only to change my life, but what I preach, I hope, is to change your life. And if you'll come and you'll have an open heart and a receptive heart, even like today, your life can be changed. You can go into 2023 with less hurts than you had in 2022. Amen. That's a larger perspective.

James Greer: I read Matthew 20:26 in a new light. Yet it shall not be among you, Journey Church, that whosoever desires to be great among you shall be your servants. Jesus didn't say there's anything wrong with desiring to be great. What it is, you maybe not understand what that word great. Whoever desires to be strong and mighty in the Lord among you. Different perspective. Wouldn't you like to be strong and mighty in the Lord? Amen. Let them be a servant. Whosoever desires to be first among you, let him be the slave. First there means so whosoever desires to be great means to be strong and mighty in the Lord, who be first. The best that you can be as a person. Isn't this great? Whoever decides to be strong in the Lord and whoever it is to be the best person they can be, to be a slave or be a servant. Now, this is an interesting word. It can be a bondservant to Christ. Everybody knows that. But you know what else that word means? It means to become a willing, frequent volunteer for God. A willingly frequent volunteer for God. Because when you become a willing, frequent volunteer for God, you're putting other people before yourself. And the wonderful thing about this, when I read this, I said, Well, why would God want us to learn to put other people before ourselves? And why would he want us to be willing, frequent volunteers?

James Greer: Because he knew that's the only way we could really find our purpose. See, you think you find your purpose when you always get what you want, but you never get what you want when you're a selfish person because you only want more. I want you to go out and reach out to the lost, the hurting, and the people out of church. One time, Jesus said in Matthew 9:36, and Jesus said, And I say to Journey Church, He saw the crowds and he saw the multitudes and he was moved with compassion. Another translation said Jesus felt sorry for them. He said, because they were weary and scattered. Another translation says they were confused and helpless. They were like sheep without a shepherd. And if there was ever a time in history, if you'll just look around, there's people that are hurting, there's people that are scattered, there's people that don't have any direction. And Jesus said to his disciples, like He's saying to Journey Church, the harvest is plentiful, the laborers are few. Pray, therefore, to the Lord of the harvest that he sends forth his laborers to his harvest.

James Greer: I can tell you, the staff at Journey Church has been praying that and praying that and praying that and praying that and praying that and praying that verse. And now you are going to go forth to the harvest and you are going to invite people the 29th and we're going to have this huge harvest and you're going to want to be a part of it. Amen. The real reason that we're giving the hoodies away is we want to reach those people far from God and bring them close to God, one step at a time. And we want you to be a part of it. And what happens at Journey Church, you do such a great job, y'all make people feel welcome. People can join a church. They can come in. They're hurting. They can find help. They can come, their life's been a mess and many of them get to experience a miracle and then leave living a message. The last 14 years have been over 1,072 people that have been baptized. And next year, I hope 150 more get baptized. I mean, it's our volunteers that have made a difference and so many of y'all are willing volunteers, and that's part of what that verse means. So the son of man, he didn't come to be served, but he came to serve and he gave his life ransom for many. He had a purpose and his purpose was to please the Father.

James Greer: The reason it's so important for you to understand what your purpose is because you're going to still have pain in 2022. But when you understand your purpose and your purpose is bigger than you, you can sometimes go through the pain with a certain amount of purpose and joy that you can never go through without. There's nobody that had a purpose bigger than Jesus. Amen. But there's nobody that I know of that went through any greater pain than Jesus. But yet, because Jesus had a purpose, which was to please the Father and he knew what it was. It tells us in Hebrews chapter 12, verse 1, that he had a strange joy even while he went through the pain. It says in Hebrews 12:2, it says, Looking to Jesus, he's the author and finisher of our faith, who for the what joy that was set before him he endured the what? The cross. How could you have joy and go to the cross? He didn't enjoy the pain. Nobody enjoys pain. Amen. But because he knew that that was his purpose, he could go to the cross and said, Hey, I don't enjoy going to the cross, but I have joy knowing that I'm pleasing the Father by what I'm doing. And you've got to know that you have a purpose as larger than you. And then when you go through the pain. You say, God's in charge. So I have a certain amount of joy that no matter what happens in my path, God can take care of it. Despising not the shame, he sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Father.

James Greer: Then the next verse tells you this for us to remember that. So keep your mind on Jesus, who put up with many insults from the sinners when you don't get discouraged and you give up. In other words, there's going to be times that you feel like you're going to get discouraged, but don't give up. Remember what Jesus did and remember why Jesus did it. So you remember you got to have a purpose and you got to have it bigger than you. So remember spiritual growth is the only real guarantee that your life will get better. There's nothing else. Spiritual growth is the only thing. Everything rises and falls on your fellowship with Christ. So number one. Number one, if you want to move past your hurts and you want to begin healing in 2023, you've got to begin to live for a purpose bigger than you. And you need to be accountable to other people on a week-to-week basis. So what purpose are you living for that's bigger than you? Number two, the second one, it's so important. If you want to start healing from your hurts, you've got to have a redemptive perspective and eternal perspective to your hurts.

James Greer: Many years ago when I was in school, I used to feel sorry for myself in high school. Sometimes I would say, Poor me. They bused me to the school, and everybody's rich. They weren't really rich. Everybody wasn't rich. Just the people I looked at were rich. I thought they all had new cars. Everybody didn't have new cars. I can remember going home from school and crying because I didn't have a new car. They all had new cars. They all had these fancy tennis shoes. And I'd go home. I cried. I want a new car. You got a 65 Fairlane. Yeah. By the way, I had great parents. My dad drove a cleaners truck. My mother drove a bus. They couldn't buy me a new car. You know what? The redemptive perspective was great when I woke up and realized the wonderful thing is they couldn't give it to me. So I had to learn to go to work. I could learn to go to work and save. And most of those rich spoiled brats couldn't. So when they didn't have a clue, it wasn't long. I had money and they didn't. It's just one of the things. So it wasn't near as bad as I thought it was, but I had to come to the point to quit feeling sorry for myself and said, Hey, what's a different perspective? Nothing. Nothing wrong with rich kids. Some of them work. But anyway. But what I had to do is change worry about me. And the other problem was I was looking at it from the wrong perspective anyway. I was trying to get my identity from them. I was trying to get my identity from people, places, and things instead of Christ. And doesn't matter who you are and what age you are, as long as you're trying to get your identity from anybody else, people, place, or things other than Christ, you'll never be happy. There's other things I went through.

James Greer: I didn't understand my five-year-old granddaughter when she got cancer, and we took care of her in our bedroom and she died. That didn't make sense. I got out of the ministry for several years. I never did understand why. Yes, some of y'all know about that. Grandkids. You say, well, you understand now? Sure don't. I've heard preachers say I'd go through it again. Not me. I don't want to go through it again. I don't understand it. I know there's some type of eternal perspective to it that I don't understand. Don't really. I won't till I get to Heaven. I know that 2 Corinthians 1:3 said, Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of all mercies and all comfort. And he does give you a strange comfort. Who comforts us in all our tribulations. And when you go through that, I can promise you it's a tribulation. It's not just a hard time. That I may comfort those who are in trouble with a comfort with which we ourselves were comforted by God. I don't understand it. Don't want to go through it again. But because I went through it, I can somewhat understand what other people are going through. So I just say God has an eternal perspective in it. I don't want to live there. You have a heart the rest of your life. It does not remove the hurt. But I don't want to live there. I want to use the hurt for a purpose. I got to believe that Romans 8:27 and 28 says now he who searches the heart knows the mind of the spirit is because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

James Greer: The reason that I read that verse before I read Romans 28, because when you're hurting so bad in tribulation, you really do not know how to pray. Everybody says, Pray about it. You don't know how to pray. You're hurting so bad. You just you don't know what to say and you don't know how to pray. Thank God the Holy Spirit is praying because I did things and said things that I shouldn't have. Now I go to people that are hurting, tell them not to do that. And we can know that all things work together for those that love God and those who are called according to his purpose. See, I'm saying you've got to have a purpose. And now your purpose starts to say, Hey, I don't understand it. I never will understand. It won't understand to God. But God has a purpose. I'll tell you something else about that verse. Does it mean that it was good that it happened? That's who said something Said. I think I say that for I say some ugly. Doesn't mean it was good that it happened. Doesn't mean that it didn't hurt that it was happened because it wasn't good. But because it did happen and we don't understand, God will make something good come out of it, even though we don't see it and understand it. How about that? So number one, you've got to live for something bigger than you.

James Greer: Number two, you've got to have your hurt, has to at some point has to have a redemptive or eternal perspective or you cannot move past it. And number three, you've got to bring some people along with you. For a pastor and a wife, that's very, very hard to do. It's almost impossible. I'm so thankful. I was listen to a podcast on the way home and how they were talking about how pastors don't do that. Can you imagine? CR is a great place to do that for y'all that are in CR. I often said, Can you imagine me going to CR and tell about all my hurts and hangups, the people wouldn't come to church. Wife, it being harder for her for pastors' wives. And it's okay. But y'all have a church where y'all can do that. I was talking, I think, to Tim this week and we were talking about they don't know what they're missing, do they? If you try it one time, you want a small group or journey group or form your own group. You need a handful of people that you can share life with Jesus. He even had his disciples. You said, Well, they all betrayed him. They did at the end. But he lived most of his effective years with them. And you do, too, because life is going to happen. Tragedy is going to happen. Death is going to happen. I think sometimes you have one and maybe you don't know it and maybe you're running around with six, five, six, four, six people all the time.

James Greer: But turn it into a spiritual family to add a spiritual component to it. Let us help you. If you can't come into one of our small groups, I think you should try it with all my heart. But. But if you can't, let us help you develop your own with the people that you're with. Let us say once a week, add a spiritual component to it, and I'll pray together and pray for each other, whatever it takes. It's my goal more than anything else that go into 2023 with some healing, everybody including myself. Everybody's been hurt some. I don't want everybody to live there. I don't want you to deny the hurt. I want you to learn to deal with the hurt. I want you to start thinking right now, What can I live with and do for purposes bigger than me? For me, this church is mine. I love it. People say all the time, When are you going to retire? Probably when I die. I don't know. This is my purpose. I love it. I can take off when I want. I've got great people behind me. They take care of me. But this is my purpose. I want to give my life to this. This is bigger than me. And I give it because I want to change your life. That's my purpose. You can give it here. You can give it somewhere else. But give it to something bigger than you.

James Greer: It's something besides you that you're changing lives and they're counting on you. Have a redemptive. Perspective. Eternal perspective on your past hurts. And let's let it go today. Let's don't bring it into 2023. I don't care how bad it was. I don't care what it was. I didn't say it was going to remove the pain. I said, it begins to give you a purpose. Don't bring it in. Start thinking what your greatest pain was in 2022 and ask God right now. Say God, give me a redemptive purpose. I believe that none of y'all suffered in a Nazi concentration camp like Victor did. And he did it. None of y'all suffered like Jesus Christ did. And he did it. I've done it, and you can do it. You just have to ask God. God, give me eternal perspective to everything I've gone through. God, give me some close people to live life with. And to go through and then let's go through it over and over again. Let's start 2023 clean, forgiving, and healing. That's what I want. Would you stand? Let me pray with you. God, I just thank you for today. I pray it's a new start for some. Jesus Christ is the greatest physician of all. If you're here today and you don't know him, you can't be healed. It's impossible. He's the only one that heals spiritually. But he can heal emotionally and he can heal physically. You don't know him as your personal savior. I pray today that that would be the decision that you make.

James Greer: If you're not living for something bigger than you, I pray when I give the invitation, you would just come and pray with one of the counselors or just pray at the altar and say, God, give me a perspective. Give me something to live for bigger than myself that I can give my life to. Deal with your hurt right now. God, I'll deal with my 2022 hurt. I want you to give me a different perspective, an eternal perspective where I can deal with it in my pain has a purpose and I can move forward and I can help other people. Give me people to go through life with, God. Maybe I need somebody to pray with and pray for right now. Maybe I'm hurting. And we have people in the front. Maybe need to join this church. Maybe follow through in baptism. Why don't you start out the new year forgiven and clean and no condemnation and no guilt? And this is the place to do it. This is a place to find people to do it with. Whatever God lays upon your heart, let him have his will and his way. I pray it in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

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