Less is More -- Stress is Bad -- God is Good

Spending time in God's word will help you in overcoming stress.

James Greer
Mar 24, 2019    30m
favorite_border
FAVORITE
In this sermon Pastor James Greer teaches us the important role God plays in us successfully overcoming stress. He explains spending time in the word every day, and meditating on the word, can greatly reduce the stress we are feeling. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

Transcription
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 Good morning Journey Church. Man, didn't Kurt and Claudia, man, we just love their testimony, and that is just part of the [inaudible} story. Amen. Because we got our other {inaudible] here, that's their story. And we're praying for you all, that God just comforts you all, and God will be with you all when you go to Houston. Well, let's welcome the Alexandria campus. Amen? Woo.

James Greer: 00:19 Well, you know, we had a theme this year, and it is to train, not simply try. So every single Sunday we're trying to give you some application that you can go to another level in your spiritual walk. And today we're going to start summing up how to go from stressed to being blessed. At the end of the message, when I get ready to close, I'm going to give you five steps that could radically change your life if you're willing to apply them. There was a theme all the way, and I've been carrying it with me. I carry the card with me, and it says, turn and learn. And it reminds me when I start getting stressed out, I need to turn to God, and learn from God, and I've been doing a lot of turning and learning.

James Greer: 01:04 We gave you some illustrations about Paul who wrote three fourths of the New Testament. And in Second Corinthians, Paul was given a thorn in the flesh, and he pleaded with God three times to please remove it. And God this time chose not to do it, but he said, my grace is sufficient. In other words, when he says that, God said, when we turn and learn from God, he said, I'll do one of two things. I'll remove the problem, or I'm going to give you the power and strength to go through the problem. And that particular time he didn't do that, but there was other times when Jesus walked that he said, he was walking on Matthew nine and there was two blind men and they turned to God and they cried out, and they said, Jesus have mercy on me. And he opened their eyes. There was another time that there was one that came and said, hey, my son is having seizures, and they cried out and they turned to God, and God rebuked him and healed him. See, sometimes when we turn to God, he removes the problem, but if not he always gives us the power.

James Greer: 02:00 Jesus himself kept going through the greatest stress in his life as we're getting ready to go into the Easter season. Jesus went into The Garden of Gethsemane, and he cried out and he said, hey my God, if there's any way, remove this cup from me. But he said, nevertheless, let your will be done. God didn't remove it cup, but because he didn't remove the cup, that's salvation for me and you. He saw something bigger than we understood, something that we couldn't comprehend. He said, no, he wasn't going to do that because God loved us so much, he was going allow his own son to go through the suffering where we can be saved and go to heaven one day. Amen.

James Greer: 02:35 So we don't always understand, and we never will understand it completely. But see, I don't think that Christians have to go through stress the same way the world does. Stress is a big issue, I understand that. I understand that 90% of everybody says they're under stress to a high level. Forty-three to forty-five percent is causing health issues. It definitely causes sleep disorder issues, I struggle with that a lot of times. But there's some insights that we've been learning, if you want what normal people have, you do what normal people do, well that that's 90% of the world. If you want what few people do we do, we do what few people do, that's 10% of the world. Hey Journey Church, I want you to function like the 10% of people that aren't normal. Amen? And you can do that because you're not normal.

James Greer: 03:26 And one of the things, Christians as a whole, whether you're here or at Alexandria campus or whether you're watching online. See, we're not supposed to think even like normal people think. In fact, Romans 12 it tells us something altogether different. 12:2 it says, "Don't copy the behavior." Don't copy the what? Christians are to behave different. See, when somebody looks at you, they don't know, they just see the outside. And I mean people, you don't know the outside of me. I got this new dog, his name's Piper. And I took Piper on a photo shoot this week, and I put him on Facebook. And then last night I got home there's a bunch of teenagers at the house, and that's stress, so I turned and learned. But they really stressed me out because they said, your dog is really not that pretty. And they went around the room, and about four or five of them said, that dog is not that pretty. I said, but that dog might not be pretty to you, but he is to me. Not only is that dog pretty to me, that is one of the happiest, friendliest dog in the world. And I said, God looks on the inside, only people looking on the outside. I said, but it's just a dog. I started to say, well some of you all are acting like that, but I do not.

James Greer: 04:39 But see we, we, we don't copy the behavior, and the customs of the world. See, the behavior, and the customs of the world, is to continue to live a life of stress. But let God transform you into a new person. How? By changing the way you what? By changing the way you think? How does God transform me and you, he changes the way that we think. See, Christians aren't to think like normal people do. See, then you're going to learn to know God's will for you, which is good and is pleasing to God.

James Greer: 05:15 Now I'm going to tell you, we're going to be preaching real soon, are we living in the last days? Not starting this Wednesday, so starting the next Wednesday, and you're going to want to be there. In fact, Second Timothy chapter three verse one puts it this way, "But you understand this..." When God says that, he says he's going to make it clear that you understand it. "That in the last days, dangerous times of great stress and trouble will come." In other words, the closer it comes to God's returning, to Jesus' returning, the greater the stress, the greater trouble. The most difficult times will come and they're going to be hard to bear. God doesn't say life was going to be easy. In fact, I want you know, life not going to get better. Life in essence is stress is going to get harder, but God has an invitation for me and you. He tells us in the Psalm, he says Psalms 34 he says this. He said, listen. Oh, Christians, taste and see that the Lord is good." God said, I want you to know that God is good. Right in the midst of your stress and your struggles and your problems and things getting worse and worse, God's raising. It's almost like his right hand, get your attention. He said, "Blessed and happy is the man that trust in God." The word trust me, he thrusts himself upon God. He leans upon God. God said, listen, it's going to get bad in the world, but hey for you Christian, taste and see that it can get better. God says, I want you to rethink the way that you've been thinking. I want you to taste and see that God is good. I want your thinking to go from thinking of self, to trusting in God.

James Greer: 06:48 You hear it quoted many times, Proverbs 23:7 says, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." And that gets me in trouble all the time., because I always think I'm younger than I am. I mean you don't know it, I believe inside that I'm in my thirties and forties, sometimes I believe it so much I don't even want to look in the mirror. I mean, as a man thinketh in his heart. I mean what I really wish is I had the wisdom I have now, and I was in my thirties. Now when I was in my thirties and forties, what I thought I knew, I did not know. The way we think, you ready? Either brings more stress or it reduces stress. But Christians, as Christians, we think different. We're supposed to think different about our stress, our money, our family, about work. We think different about stress because stress come, we learned to turn in learn. Amen? If stress comes to your life, come Monday, come on your way home, when you're driving in the car, when you're fighting with the kids, you go, wait a minute, I got to turn and learn. Amen?

James Greer: 07:47 We think different about our money. See Christians, money's not yours, we're just managers of money, God owns everything. And when you learn to be a manager of a few things, he'll give you a more things. Amen? So we look at things different than the rest of the world. Family relationships, Psalms 127:1 says, "Unless the Lord build the house, you labor in vain." See, the rest of the world doesn't believe that. Christians, we are to think and believe different than the rest of the world. Work, when you go to work, you work as unto the Lord. I mean you work hard, you do good. But listen, your ultimate boss is God. So you see what I'm saying, we think different than normal people. We're not to live and think like normal people live and think.

James Greer: 08:32 In fact, First Peter 2:11 says, "Dear Friends I warn you, you're temporary residents and you're foreigners, this is not our home. We are just traveling through. We are just visitors. Keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your soul." Do you understand that that's what stress does? It wages war against the very emotions of your life. Be careful, and live properly among the unbelieving neighbors. What's proper? They want you to know that your trust is in God, not in your job, not in other people. And then when they accuse you of doing wrong, they are going to see your some kind of behavior? Honorable behavior. Listen, you cannot change your behavior, without changing your thinking, your behavior follow your thinking. You think one way, you behave that way. That's why I told you back in Romans, he says, God wants to change the way we think, so we can transform our behavior. And they'll give honor to God when he judges them in the world. See, what is stress anyway? Stress wages war against the very emotions of our lives.

James Greer: 09:47 There's a few things that cause stress, we're going to look at a few of them. In your bulletin, if you've got your bulletin, get it out. And in part of the bulletin it says, there are some things that cause stress, and we're going to talk about them. It starts out with unrealistic pace. Now this is what I did with it. Next to it I put a Y for yes, and an N for no, and then I just graded myself. And I just went through it, and I just said, hey, you know. And first off it started out and it said, here it is, it just says this. It says, do you go to unrealistic pace? I put yes. I mean there's no sense in lying, God knows your heart. I mean sometimes I just try to say it like God does not know it. I'll just try to hide my sins, or I'm not going to tell God. I mean I'm running around 900 miles an hour. God knows, so I just put yes I'm doing that. Well, if you keep doing it, you're going to be stressed. Amen? God says, put some margin in your life. I said, eww. But God's right, and I'm wrong. Amen? So that's a yes. Unrealistic expectations of others? Yes, that's a yes. I have unrealistic expectations of on the job, and at church, and everything. I put pressure on other people. I have not unrealistic expectations of myself so much as it is of other people. So, I've got two yeses so far. I'm stressing if you don't know it. Unrealistic view of life, that life was not fair? Nope. Nope, nope, nope, I don't know that. I know life is not fair, but God is faithful.

James Greer: 11:20 The greatest problem in the generation today, especially as parents, is they're not teaching the kids that life is not fair. Life was not fair with Joseph, his brothers sold him out, he was thrown into prison. He was lied about, but then he was promoted to second in command. Life is not fair, but God is always faithful. Amen? I got that one. So far two wrong, and one right.

James Greer: 11:43 Unrealistic desires to be liked by everybody. No, I don't do too good on that. I want you to like me, but if you don't, it's probably going to be okay. I mean, you can't stay in the ministry if you don't. I mean, do you realize how many people don't like you when you're a preacher? I mean next to a worship leader, the preacher's the most unliked person in church. They'll say, I just can't believe you said that, I can't believe you did that. Yeah, I did it. I can't even believe I say some of the things I say, man. I mean I've got to turn to God just to like myself, but that's not one of my problems. Everybody didn't like Jesus either by the way. Alright, you get your self-worth from God, not from other people.

James Greer: 12:27 Unrealistic view of who's in control? Now you all can't do that, I put yes and no. It kind of depends. Man, when I'm all spiritual, I'm at church, God's in control. When I'm at home sometimes, I want to be in control. When I'm driving the car, I always want to be in control. And so I put yes and no. Now you all can't do that, that's kind of cheating.

James Greer: 12:50 Unrealistic of trying to be someone you're not? No, I've already been through that. I mean, when I started preaching, man, you know I didn't read well and I didn't talk well. I tried to be like everybody. I tried to be like Billy Graham, and I'd say, would you all come? And nobody came. And I did everything I could and I couldn't. I tried, Chuck Swindoll back then was real popular, but he used words this big, and I couldn't even pronounce them. So I finally said, I've just got to be who I am. And man, you talk about freedom. Man, when you find out you could just be who you are, and enjoy your relationship with God, man, it's fantastic. Amen?

James Greer: 13:21 So I did my little score test. Yes, three, and no, four. Well there is only six questions. So one of them, I said yes and no. But thank goodness I had four no's and three yeses, I just barely squeezed by. Because when you have over four yeses, you hadn't been turning in learning. And this is what's cool, you know, you can lie about it, but it doesn't help anybody. I mean, I'm trying to help you. Amen? How many were yes, and how many were no? Score your own self. And if you really want, let your mate score you. And then we'll be doing counseling for fighting. Maybe that's not a good idea, I told you I'm not a good counselor.

James Greer: 14:06 Let move on, this is something. How to go from stressed to rest, you all ready? Number one, the most important thing you'll learn today, you have to choose you want to change. You've got to choose you want to change the way you're living in your stress. You've got to choose you want to change your marriage. You got to choose the way you want to change in your finances. You choose, or you're going to lose. Number one, you have to choose. Amen?

James Greer: 14:30 The problem is I've taught you many, many times. Most of us, me and you, we don't change until we hurt enough to have to change. But you can learn enough that you will change, because God could transform us. Amen. I can't change you, your mate can't change you, your parents can't change you, the doctor can't change you. Now he can numb us every now and then, to help ua a little bit, but he can't change us Amen? We have to make the choice, you live in stress, or you learn to have some rest.

James Greer: 14:59 But let me tell you something that most people don't know. Ninety to one hundred percent of people are just really stressing, stressing, stressing. So even if you make the right choice in your mind for a while, your mind will try to silence it, it will try to muzzle you. The right choice in your mind, and all of the sudden it starts muzzling you. You do know that your mind tries to take the path of least resistance. So what you've been doing, is you've been saying, I'm so stressed, I'm so stressed, I'm so stressed, I'm so stressed. Your mind said, he's so stressed. Now I'm trying to get the body to obey the mind, so when you say I'm not stressed. But you said it so many times, my mind is trying to obey what I've told it over and over and over and over. So when you say, hey, I'm not going to be stressed anymore, your mind says, yeah you are. You say, no, I'm not. It says, yes you are. I'm going to quit trusting myself, and I'm going to start trusting in God. You have to start telling your mind that you're going to stop living in stress. You have to make a willful choice. Amen?

James Greer: 15:58 Second Corinthians chapter 10 puts it this way, "For though we walk in the flesh like the rest of the world, we don't have to live according to the flesh like the rest of the world. (Why?} For our weapons, our defense, our behavior, and our warfare." It's war. Our mind's going one way, and the mind tells us one thing, and God tells us another. They're not carnal but the world is mighty in God. It's pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments." Why do you have arguments? Now, do you all argue with your mind? I do all the time. My mind says, you're stressing. I said, please, I don't want to stress. My mind says, you're worrying. I said, I don't want to keep worrying, so you have arguments. But the Bible says, in Second Corinthians, God says, I've got the power to give to you, that casts down arguments, and everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God." Now does God say you have to live in stress? No, he does not. He says, "Cast all your cares on me. Doesn't he? So he said, don't let this stuff exalt itself again. Bring every thought, (Uh oh, we've got to think again.) into captivity to the obedience of Christ." It's all about choosing. You've got to think, do you want to think? You've got to make a choice. You know, it's all about choosing. You choose or you lose. Amen? The first argument is your mind will tell you have to live in stress, God's word says you don't. So who are you going to believe? I'm going to tell you, don't believe your thought life, believe God's word. Amen?

James Greer: 17:31 Alright, Proverbs 8:10, look at this. What's the first word? Choose. What's the first word? If you want to change, what do you have to do? Choose. He says, "Choose my instructions..." Uh oh, we just gave you instructions. "...rather than silver and knowledge (Which is wisdom.) rather than the gold." It all comes back, the first thing, if you want to change your life, and we're just preaching on pressure, and we're preaching on stress. But it can be your marriage, it can be your finances, it can be anything in your life. First of all, you got to make a choice that you want to change. Amen? So my question is, do you want to change? Praise God, huh? Do you believe God, or do you believe your mind? Believe God. Amen? Proverbs 16:16 in the message. I love it. It says, "Get wisdom." I love this. "It's worth more than money." Oh, here we go again, choose insight over income, every time. Do you see, over and over it’s saying, you've got to make a choice, you've got to make a choice. You choose or you lose. Amen? Romans 6:16 it says again, this was really, don't you realize? In other words, God is saying, wake up. And he said, don't you realize? In other words, you're living one way God says, don't you realize something? Don't you realize you become a slave to whatever you...? You become a slave to whatever you, what? The word is choose. "You become a slave to whatever you choose to obey." You got a choice, you can be a slave to sin and leads to death. Death, it may not be physical, but I'm going to tell you sin controls your life, he destroys your life. Or you can choose, you can do what? Choose to obey God. Can we choose to obey God? Yes. Which leads to the righteous living a right life with God. And God says, listen, you can choose what you want to do, you can choose to live like that, or you can change. See, if you want to change, you have to choose. We have to choose.

James Greer: 19:27 Second of all. First we say, I have to choose, I have to make a choice, I want to change. Second of all, I have to choose to slow down. That is so hard. I was going home last night from somewhere and I was doing, Debbie said, you are going 66 miles an hour. I said, I know that's pretty good. She says, not when it's a 45. I said, you know, they need to get me on the highway department. They go down to have a 75 mile an hour, and they change it to 45, that is crazy. But anyway, they don't ask me, so I have to choose the slow down. Amen. So you have to choose to slow down. Choose to slow down, and be still. The psalmist said in Psalms 46:10 it says, "Be still." Then another translation says, calm down. Calm down what? And know that I'm God. It's perceived, it's to know him, become aware of him. To know what? And I will be exalted among nations, and I'll be exalted on the earth. But that's not the last verse. It goes, next verse, it says, "The Lord of hosts." The Lord of who? Hosts. The Lord of who? Host. He's with us. Oh, [inaudible] and the God of Jacob is our refuge. I want you to know that the Lord of hosts is with me, and he's with you. But if I just read it like that, you don't really understand what God is saying. God is saying the all-powerful, the champion of the world, the mighty warrior is on your side.

James Greer: 20:53 And then he said, let me give you an illustration. First Samuel chapter 17 verse 45 David, he said, something, he said to the Philistine. That Philistine, his name was Goliath. Goliath is a picture of the stress trying to come into your life. He said, you come to me with a sword, which you see. You come to me with a spear, with threat. You come to me with a javelin, what might could happen? I'm coming to you in the name of the Lord of what? What's the name of? The Lord of hosts. What did he tell you? To be still, where we come to know, who is with us? The Lord of hosts, the God of the Army of Israel, whom you have defiled. He said, you're going to come to me by your size, your strength. Goliath, you're trying to bring fear, you're trying to bring stress into my life. But I'm going to remember that the Lord of host is on my side. It means the champion, see Goliath thought he was the champion. God said, no, no, no, no, I'm the champion. I got the heavenly army on my side, I'm the one of all power. I wish I had something to describe how tall, you understand Goliath is nine foot, nine inches. I'm six, look, look, look. Yeah, come see, come see. I'm six foot one and shrieking, but anyway, but Goliath is nine foot nine inches. That's pretty good, that's pretty good height. Amen? Huh? That's a pretty good size man. You better not fight him fair. Amen? But not only was that sucker tall, look, the armor he wore was 125 pounds. We got some people in there that don't even weigh 125 pounds, his armor weighed 125 pounds. He was nine foot nine inches. That's pretty good height. The tip of his spear weighed 15 pounds. Now listen, and what the Bible's saying is hey, here comes Goliath, and he's screaming and he's hollering and he's waving. He saying, hey, I've got a sword and I got a javelin. And young David walks out and he says, hey, I got the lord of hosts with me. Did you know if you read the whole story, he started cussing David. He said, maybe this is paraphrasing, you little wimp. I cannot believe you come out here, you look like a little dog. I'm going to squash you. He said, no, no, no, you come out here, I'm going to cut your dagum head off. He said, first of all, I'm going to take my slingshot and hit you with it, and then I will cut your head off with your own sword. Guess who won the war? David, not Goliath. That big mouth son of a gun that came out, and tried to stress you out, and scare you. Guess who wants to win the war in your life? God. See, God used David, but he gave him the strength because the Lord of hosts was on his side.

James Greer: 23:33 I don't know what you're going through, but I can tell you one thing the Lord of hosts is with you. Amen? He wants to be, not only with you, he is fair to you. I want to tell you something though, fifteen minutes a day with God, can greatly keep the stress away. Take fifteen minutes a day and you meditate on God's word, his goodness, and his power. This is what came back and wrote, most of us take medication, we don't have to say who takes medication. Most of us taking medications to some extent, a lot of towns for stress. I was at a meeting the other day and they said, there's 106% of the people in Alexandria and Pineville that take medication. How are you getting 106? Because they're selling 6% so that means 100%. And then he said, no, no, no selling about 15% so that makes 80 or 90%. They're on medication. Amen? Many for stress, that's okay, but let me tell you what. What if we were just as diligent about meditation as we are on medication? This is good, Brother James. What if we take 15 minutes a day, and we shut our mind down, and we meditate on God's word and God's promises. What if we stop our mind from running? See, it is unfair, are you all ready? This is a strong, it's unfair to ourselves, and to God, for us to take medication without meditation. It sure got quiet now. I mean who you are giving more credit to. I tell you what, if I take medication, which I do. But if I take medication, if I didn't you would be sorry. But I take medication and meditate, you ought to see me if I didn't meditate. Woo wee, we'd have problem in here. But what I'm telling you, that's why I've got to spend more than 15 minutes a day, but you can spend 15 minutes a day and it'll help keep the stress away. So, let's all meditate. Amen? Now all you all that are medicating, stand up. No, not really. A whole bunch of you would stand up. But anyway, anyway, meditate, even if you medicate.

James Greer: 25:39 Let's get ready to close. Joshua chapter one verse eight and nine. The book of law, that's this book it's God's word, shall not depart from your mouth. Who's mouth? But you, who? You shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that's written in it. For then, you will make your way prosperous. Who's going to make your way prosperous? You will. Why? Because you're meditating on God's word. And you will have good success. You is in there at least eight times, I think he's saying, you got to make a choice if you want to change. Amen? And then he goes on to sum it up and he said, have I not commanded you. This is a commandment from God, be strong, be of good courage, don't be afraid. We fear when we don't hear from God, you're hearing from God this morning, let the hear drive out the fear. God said, be strong, be courageous, don't be afraid, don't be dismayed, why? For the Lord your God, the Lord of hosts, he's with you wherever you go.

James Greer: 26:56 Alright, that was fun, fun, fun. As we get ready to close, I'm going to give you some things to do. Of course, you know you got to change your thinking and start trusting. Number one, you got to choose to turn and learn at the first thought of stress. We see it throughout the Bible, whether it was the greatest people like Jesus had to do that, or whether it's Paul, they had to turn to God. I want you to turn to God this morning. I don't know what you're going through, but I want you to turn to God, and I want you to learn from God. I want you to learn that God is with you, God is for you, and the Lord of host, he'll be with you. If you're fighting a personal relationship battle, put your guard down, God will take care of it. If he could take care of Goliath, he can take care of any of your enemies. If you're taking care of a financial, he'll meet all your needs. If you take care of physical, he said, he told Paul, he said, my grace is sufficient. Turn and learn, choose to change. Would you be honest this morning? Listen to me, would you say that there's some things you need to change? Maybe it's not stress, but I bet it is. Would you make a willful choice this morning that, hey, I'm going to change. In fact, I'm going to make a, not only that I'm going to change, I'm going to make an act of obedience. I'm going to come to the altar, and I'm going to say, God, I'm changing today. I'm choosing to change. And God says, since I know I've got to choose to change, I got to choose to be still. I've got to be still, and know that you are God, and that the Lord of host, the champion, the warrior, the all-powerful is with me. Man, you just kind of go, whew. I'm going to choose to take 15 minutes a day, and that's going to greatly help keep the stress away. People tell me all the time, I just can't believe you spend time with God's word. I'm like, you can't believe if I didn't spend time what I'd be like. If you want to know the real truth, and I'm not judging because I don't do it like I should, I can't believe you don't. I don't see how you can live in the world without doing it. So I'm going to choose to be consistent on my meditation. And for you all that take medication, God through the Holy Spirit is going to drive it home to you every time you do. Say, hey, I'm taking medication, I hadn't been meditating. So I'm going to give the invitation for you to come and trust in the Lord this morning, with your stress and with your problems. And most of all here, if you're here today and you're not sure if you died, that you'd go to heaven, that you come and you put your trust in Jesus Christ.

James Greer: 29:36 So stand and let me pray with you and pray for you. God, you're an awesome God, wonderful God, powerful God. You said all that labor and heavy laden, let them come unto me. God, I pray today at both campuses that more than anything else, that we make a choice. We make a choice in the areas that we want to change, and we choose. We just walk out and say, God, this is the area that I need a change, and I'm going to give it to you today, God. And then I'm going to learn to be still, because I want to know that you're the Lord of host, and that you're with me, God. Not only today, but I'm going to go every day, I'm going to take at least 15 minutes a day, God, and I'm going to meditate on your word. Because you said, hey, you guarantee success and you guarantee prosperity, if we will meditate and do what your word says, God. So this is going to be a change in our life, and a change in our church. God, whether it's a join the church, follow through in baptism, whatever God's called you to do, let him have his will and way in your life. It's in Jesus' name I pray. Amen.



Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
Read More
Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360
318-640-1273