Participants: Taj Pacleb
Series Code: 15GYC
Program Code: 15GYC000007A
00:32 I am so thankful that we have someone we can always lean on
00:36 when we go through tough times.
00:37 And we're going to sing next, Leaning On the Everlasting Arms.
00:42 Please join us.
03:07 Please stand with us as we sing our theme song,
03:09 Once To Every Man and Nation.
07:34 Happy Sabbath GYC!
07:36 You guys can be seated.
07:38 I have the privilege of introducing to you today
07:41 our speaker for this morning, Evangelist Taj Pacleb.
07:45 I had the privilege of meeting him a few months ago in October
07:48 at GYC Southeast on the campus of Southern
07:51 Adventist University.
07:52 Taj's passion is to help people see Jesus in every doctrine
07:58 and every principle found within the Bible.
08:00 He's traveled to twenty-eight countries around the world,
08:03 including Malaysia, India, and last but not least, Fiji.
08:08 His mission, and his final purpose in life, is to change
08:11 the population in heaven, one soul at a time,
08:15 by sharing the hope, health, and harmony of heaven
08:19 in this dark world.
08:21 I know I'm looking forward to Taj's message this morning,
08:24 as I am sure you are.
08:25 Let us pray. Dear Heavenly Father, we humbly wait for You.
08:31 We thank You for the love that You have for us,
08:35 and we thank You for the rest that You give us in You,
08:37 and we thank You for the hope that we can have in You.
08:39 And this morning I just ask that You would fill this place;
08:43 that You would make Yourself so fully known that the city of
08:46 Louisville, and every attendee here would see You clearly.
08:50 Hide Taj behind Your cross Lord, that You may be lifted high
08:55 to draw all to You.
08:56 And we thank You for Your promise, in Jesus' name, Amen.
11:19 Amen. Good morning family.
11:22 Good morning!
11:23 Aloha, and happy Sabbath to each one of you.
11:26 I want to thank God for this wonderful opportunity of being
11:29 together on this, the first Sabbath of the New Year,
11:32 to experience a fresh revelation of Jesus.
11:35 We have lots to share this morning, so we're just going to
11:38 pray, and jump into our presentation.
11:39 I hope you brought your Bible.
11:41 I hope you brought a notebook.
11:42 And I hope you brought a spiritual appetite as we feast
11:45 upon the living manna, the bread of life, this morning.
11:48 I invite you to bow our heads as we pray together.
11:49 Let us pray. Thank You so much dear God,
11:53 for breathing Your breath of life into us today.
11:57 Thank You for giving us another Sabbath, another year,
12:02 another day to live.
12:04 And Lord we realize that time is very short,
12:07 that indeed You are coming again.
12:10 And Lord we want to be ready.
12:12 We understand, we recognize that You have called us,
12:15 You have chosen us.
12:17 And I pray dear Lord that Your faithfulness will be ours,
12:21 that You would fill this room with Your Holy Spirit,
12:23 fill our hearts with Your Spirit.
12:25 And as we open Your Word, that our hearts and minds will be
12:29 open to receive the message of this hour, that we might be
12:33 inspired, motivated, challenged, and blessed.
12:37 Please, dear God, speak and give us ears to hear Your voice,
12:42 and a heart that can know Your heart is our prayer
12:46 in Jesus name, Amen, Amen.
12:50 Our message this morning is entitled,
12:55 I invite you to take your Bible, and open with me to the book of
12:58 Mark, Chapter 1, as we begin our study entitled,
13:02 Great in the Sight of the Lord.
13:04 Mark 1, beginning with Verse 1, the Bible says this:
13:11 Mark 1:1, the Bibles says, The beginning of the gospel of Jesus
13:18 Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets,
13:22 Behold, I send My messenger before your face,
13:27 who will prepare your way before you.
13:31 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way
13:37 of the Lord, and make His paths straight.
13:42 Our message this morning takes us back to the first century of
13:45 the common era.
13:47 It was a time of great instability and
13:50 uncertainty in the world.
13:52 And this somber uncertainly was mingled with a solemn expectancy
13:57 for something that was going to happen amongst
13:59 the people of God.
14:01 Because the Jews of old thought to themselves that soon
14:04 their Messiah would come.
14:06 Soon the day of reckoning would arrive.
14:08 Soon their enemies would be vanquished under their
14:11 feet, so they thought.
14:12 But before the Messiah would come to the world,
14:16 the Bible says in this passage, that He would send His messenger
14:19 to prepare the way for His arrival.
14:22 And we know that this prophetic promise was fulfilled
14:25 in the life and in the ministry of John the Baptist.
14:28 He was sent to prepare the way for the first coming of Christ.
14:32 And so, too, God is looking for some final forerunners in the
14:37 last days to prepare the way for for the second coming of Christ.
14:41 John was the first forerunner.
14:43 God is calling us to be the final forerunners
14:46 in these last days.
14:48 And so this morning, as well as tomorrow, as we examine
14:51 the life, and ministry, and message of John the Baptist,
14:53 we will see an example, a visual aid of what God is calling
14:57 us to be in these solemn times.
15:00 His life, in other words, was a shadowy type,
15:03 and God is calling us to be the greater reality,
15:07 to prepare people for the second coming of Jesus.
15:11 In this passage John is introduced simply as the voice
15:16 of one crying in the wilderness.
15:18 But what kind of voice was that of John's?
15:20 John's voice was a voice calling for revival and reformation.
15:24 It was a catalyst for revival.
15:27 His voice was a clear voice announcing
15:29 the coming of King Jesus.
15:31 It was also a penetrating voice; a voice that would sigh and cry
15:36 for the abominations that were done in the church of that time.
15:40 It was a voice that would break up the hardened soil
15:43 of spiritual indifference.
15:44 It was also a piercing voice that would cut men's hearts
15:47 with Holy Spirit conviction.
15:49 It was a startling voice calling for revival,
15:52 repentance, and reformation.
15:54 It was also a shaking voice causing some to be shaken up,
15:58 and others to be sifted out.
15:59 His was a bold voice, not afraid to call sin by its right name.
16:04 But it was also a balanced voice; a voice that not only
16:06 comforted the afflicted, but also afflicted the comfortable.
16:11 His voice, friends, was clear and crying,
16:13 penetrating and piercing.
16:15 It was bold and balanced.
16:17 Also it was a relevant voice; a voice that reached all types
16:20 of different demographics: the young and the old,
16:23 the rich and the poor, the educated the uneducated,
16:26 the Jew and the Gentile, men and women,
16:28 the religious as well as the irreligious.
16:31 It was also a hopeful voice; a voice that would give light
16:35 to those who sit in darkness.
16:36 And it was also a faithful voice;
16:39 a voice that would not keep silent
16:41 until the mission was accomplished;
16:44 the mission simply to prepare the path,
16:48 and the way for the Lord.
16:49 That was the voice of God's first
16:52 forerunner, John the Baptist.
16:54 And so will it be the voice of God's faithful messengers,
16:58 and final forerunners in these last days.
17:01 And my charge and challenge to each and every one of us this
17:04 morning is for us to simply stand up and to let God make us
17:09 His voice, His final generation of faithful forerunners.
17:13 Friends, I don't know about you, but I want to stand up
17:15 and be amongst that group, Amen?
17:16 It's time for us, friends, to run to the world to announce
17:20 the coming of King Jesus.
17:22 It's time for us to be that voice to give that loud cry
17:25 message; to lift up our voice and loud let it ring
17:28 that Jesus is coming again.
17:31 But friends, in our world today, with so may different voices,
17:34 speaking so many different things in confusion,
17:36 the question I ask this morning is, How can we be that clarion
17:40 voice announcing the return of our King?
17:44 Well, to answer that question, all we need to do is examine
17:48 the life of John the Baptist.
17:50 And we're going to ask the question,
17:52 What made John who he was?
17:54 And that will answer the question as to what God is
17:58 wanting us to be as well.
18:01 You see, when the angel Gabriel came to the parents of John
18:05 announcing his coming, the angel Gabriel prophesied concerning
18:11 John in Luke 1:15, and he said that John would be great
18:17 in the sight of the Lord, great in the sight of the lord.
18:22 John was destined for greatness, and so it is with us today.
18:27 God has called us, friends, not to live an ordinary, mundane,
18:32 boring life, but to live a life that is great
18:35 in the sight of the Lord.
18:37 And that's the life I want to live.
18:38 How about you? Amen?
18:40 But what made John so great?
18:43 There are three things that I want to share with you.
18:46 There are several things that make him great,
18:47 but three things I want to share with you,
18:48 that I want to highlight with you today and tomorrow.
18:53 The three things that made this voice so great:
18:56 1. Was what John said about himself.
19:00 2. What John said about Jesus.
19:05 And then, 3. What Jesus said about John.
19:09 This morning we're going to cover that first one:
19:12 What John said about himself.
19:14 And then tomorrow morning we're going to cover the second
19:17 and third: What John said about Jesus,
19:19 and what Jesus said about John.
19:21 Now friends, based upon what John said about himself,
19:25 which we're about to read, we can conclude three things about
19:28 John the Baptist that made him great in the sight of the Lord.
19:32 And I'm going to give it to you right now, which is the three
19:35 points of our presentation today.
19:37 1. That which made John great is that he was
19:42 confident in his identity.
19:45 2. He was secure in his simplicity.
19:49 And 3. He was genuine in his humility.
19:54 And those are the three things that make us great
19:57 in the sight of the Lord as well.
19:59 And so I invite you to take your Bible and turn with me to
20:01 the book of John 1, as we see what John said about himself.
20:06 John 1. As the voice in the wilderness was heard
20:10 the whole nation of Israel was stirred with
20:13 excitement and anticipation.
20:15 Many believed that the voice that they heard in the
20:17 wilderness was one of the prophets risen from the dead.
20:20 Others thought that perhaps this was the promised Messiah.
20:24 He has come! And then in verse 19 of John 1 the Bible tells us
20:29 that the priests and Levites approach John, asking John
20:33 about his identity.
20:34 They asked the question, Who are you?
20:37 What do you say concerning yourself?
20:40 And notice how John responds to the question in John 1:20.
20:45 If you're there would you please let me know by saying Amen.
20:49 John 1:20. John said, or the Bible says, And he confessed,
20:53 and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
20:57 And they asked him what then?
20:59 Art thou Elias? And he said, I am not.
21:02 Art thou that Prophet?
21:05 And he answered, No.
21:06 Then they said unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an
21:09 answer to them that sent us.
21:11 What do you say of yourself?
21:14 Now, friends, I want you to notice as the Levites and
21:17 priests asked John this question, John could have easily
21:21 responded and claimed to be the Messiah.
21:23 And the people would have revered him,
21:25 and accepted him as such.
21:27 He could have also claimed to be Elijah, or a great prophet
21:33 risen from the dead, and people would have followed.
21:35 You see, when John was confronted with these questions,
21:38 he is faced with an opportunity of power, and promotion,
21:43 and self exaltation in these questions.
21:46 All that appealed to the carnal flesh of John
21:49 was presented before him.
21:51 It was an opportunity for him to exalt himself
21:54 in the eyes of man.
21:55 But John the Baptist was like one who saw and heard not,
21:59 because he understood that he did not have to be
22:01 great in the eyes of men; he was already great
22:04 in the eyes of the Lord.
22:06 And so he responds to their question.
22:08 He doesn't even tell them his name.
22:10 He simply says in verse 23, I am the voice of one crying
22:16 in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord.
22:20 It says, Make straight the way of the Lord,
22:22 as said the prophet... What does it say?... the prophet Isaiah.
22:27 Notice friends, John's answer to the questions about what he
22:32 thinks about himself highlights why he was so great
22:36 in the sight of the Lord.
22:37 First of all John knew his prophetic identity.
22:41 He saw himself as the fulfillment of Isaiah's
22:44 prophecy, the voice preparing the way
22:47 for the coming of Messiah.
22:49 His identity was rooted in prophecy.
22:52 John understood that his existence was called forth
22:55 by the prophetic word, and that is what enabled him
22:59 to fulfill his purpose.
23:01 His purpose was rooted in his identity.
23:04 His identity was rooted in the prophetic word.
23:07 John, in other words, knew exactly who he was.
23:12 And as a result he knew why he was sent to the world.
23:16 My question to you this morning friends is this:
23:18 Do you know who you are?
23:20 Do you know why that you are here?
23:24 Allow me to remind us all this morning that we
23:27 are not just a church.
23:29 We are not just a conversation.
23:32 We are a prophetic movement of destiny, called and chosen by
23:37 God Himself to fulfill a specific, special mission,
23:40 to present a beautiful, glorious message for a very
23:44 distinctive and solemn time.
23:46 Our identity has been called forth by the
23:49 prophetic Word of God.
23:51 It's rooted in the book of Revelation, chapter 10,
23:53 Revelation chapter 14, Revelation chapter 18.
23:56 We find our identity, not only as a church,
23:59 not just as a conversation, but as a prophetic movement
24:04 called to usher in the return of King Jesus;
24:07 to be the final forerunners we have been called,
24:10 we have been chosen.
24:11 The question is, Are we faithful?
24:13 In order to be great in the sight of the Lord:
24:17 1. We must be confident in our identity.
24:22 Not obnoxious in our identity, but simply confident;
24:26 knowing who we are and why we're here.
24:30 This was the mindset of the first forerunner,
24:33 so, too, the final forerunners.
24:35 But now we go to the second thing that made
24:38 John the Baptist so great.
24:39 He wasn't just confident in his identity,
24:42 he was secure in his simplicity.
24:45 You see, when you study the life of John the Baptist
24:48 there is nothing flashy, or extravagant about his life.
24:51 He lived a life that was characterized by modest
24:54 simplicity in his dress, in his diet, in his training,
24:58 in his education, and his message.
25:00 The Bible describes the diet of John the Baptist.
25:04 And the point that we learned from that is that his diet
25:07 was simple in nature.
25:09 He lived by the principle of temperance, because you see
25:12 friends, in order to give a clear message,
25:14 we have to have a clear mind.
25:16 In order to have a clear mind we have to have a healthy body.
25:20 Amen? And in order to have a healthy body, we must live by
25:24 the principle of being temperate in all things.
25:27 And that was John the Baptist.
25:28 He gave a clear message because he had a clear mind,
25:31 because he had a healthy body, because he
25:33 lived a life of temperance.
25:35 Not only that, but the Bible describes his dress:
25:38 simple in nature, and very distinct.
25:40 He lived by the principle of modesty.
25:42 And friends, the spirit of prophecy tells us that the dress
25:46 of John the Baptist was such that it was an open rebuke
25:49 to the flashy fashions, and the dazzling displays of the time.
25:53 You see, the Scribes and Pharisees, and religious
25:55 leaders during that time, they loved to dress to impress
25:59 others of their religious importance.
26:02 But John understood that it wasn't about attracting
26:06 attention to himself, but calling people's attention
26:10 to the One that was coming after him.
26:12 John was temperate in his diet.
26:14 He was modest in his dress.
26:16 That was the first forerunner.
26:17 So, too, will be the final forerunners.
26:19 He was a health, and a dress reformer, but he was also
26:22 an educational reformer.
26:24 It's interesting that when you read the book, Desire of Ages,
26:27 it describes the training of the first
26:30 forerunner, John the Baptist.
26:31 God did not send him to the teachers of theology,
26:34 or the Rabbinical schools of the day.
26:36 In fact the Spirit of Prophecy tells us that that would have
26:40 actually unfitted him for his work.
26:43 Instead God called him to the desert so that he might learn
26:46 from nature, and nature's God.
26:49 John the Baptist lived between the mountain and the multitude.
26:52 He, and in this wilderness retreat, he studied God's
26:56 two great books: the book of nature, and that of Revelation.
27:00 He searched diligently the prophetic scrolls.
27:03 He watched the passing signs of the times.
27:05 He understood the day and hour in which he lived.
27:08 And he also observed the character of men so that he
27:11 can discover the best way to reach their hearts
27:14 with the message of heaven.
27:15 And with God as his instructor, John the Baptist received a
27:20 well-rounded holistic education.
27:23 A what kind of education?
27:25 well-rounded and holistic
27:27 Now, friends, we have to understand this morning that
27:29 John did not have an accredited degree that was recognized
27:34 by the clergy of the day.
27:36 But nonetheless, He was thoroughly educated and trained
27:40 to live out his purpose and fulfill his mission.
27:44 Now please listen carefully, and don't misunderstand.
27:47 There's nothing wrong with pursuing an accredited degree.
27:51 Can you say, Amen?
27:52 If it's within your reach, and it's within your budget,
27:55 go get it! It'll open many doors.
27:57 And if you've got one, you ought to thank God for another tool
28:01 to use in ministry.
28:02 But friends, listen, I believe that as God's children,
28:05 we ought to aim for excellence in all that we do.
28:09 Can you say Amen?
28:10 Moral excellence, spiritual excellence, physical excellence,
28:14 as well as academic excellence.
28:16 But here, my friends, listen carefully, is the forgotten
28:19 reality that we need to remember, and be reminded of
28:22 today, and that is this: God is not dependent on your degree,
28:27 nor is He limited if you lack one.
28:31 God is dependent upon our humility, and our availability
28:37 to be used by Him.
28:39 We've been told in the book, Great Controversy, page 606,
28:42 that when the time comes for the third angel's message to be
28:45 given, with its greatest power, it says the Lord will work
28:49 through humble instruments.
29:00 Nothing wrong with literary institutions; we need them
29:03 all over the world.
29:04 But God is not dependent on them to finish the work.
29:08 He's looking for humble instruments who are willing
29:11 to put self, and self sufficiency aside, to be filled
29:15 with the Holy Spirit.
29:17 And I love what it says in the devotional book, Maranatha.
29:19 And on page 23 it says that:
29:24 How long?
29:33 You see, the reason why this ought to be encouraging to us
29:36 is because you may not have the time, the means, or the need to
29:40 spend many years in a literary institution.
29:42 But the good news is that the Holy Spirit is available,
29:46 and accessible to us all.
29:48 He is the greatest teacher, and we need to be careful not to
29:51 limit the work of the Holy Spirit. Amen?
29:54 In the book, Gospel Workers, on page 488, 489, it says this
29:59 very challenging statement. It says this:
30:57 You see, those who live for Christ ought to aim for
31:00 excellence in all things.
31:01 But friends, let us never fall into the Devil's trap
31:06 of equating formal education with holistic education.
31:10 Because not all formal education is holistic,
31:14 and seldom is holistic education considered formal.
31:18 Let us never over emphasize formal education over holistic
31:22 education to the point that we adopt this mindset that if we
31:26 do not have a piece of paper, recognized by a secular
31:30 accrediting institution, that somehow we're not qualified
31:34 for ministry, and to work for God.
31:36 The Spirit of Prophecy calls that mindset unbelief,
31:40 limiting the Holy Spirit, hindering the work of God,
31:44 uncalled for, distrust for, because friends, if that mindset
31:48 was true, then John the Baptist was unqualified for ministry.
31:52 Not only John the Baptist, but even Jesus, God in the flesh,
31:57 because they did not have a degree accredited by some
32:02 institution, but nonetheless, they had God as their teacher.
32:05 They learned from the experience of the patriarchs,
32:08 and prophets of old, and they had an
32:10 experience with their Master.
32:11 Don't forget what I shared with you the other day.
32:13 Your greatest qualification is your experience with Jesus.
32:17 Amen? The strongest proof that God has called one to ministry
32:21 is written in the book of, Acts of the Apostles, page 328.
32:24 It says this:
32:37 Jesus said, Ye shall know them by their fruits,
32:40 not by their letters.
32:42 Jesus said in John 15:16, You have not chosen Me,
32:46 but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go
32:51 and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.
32:54 Even when we did not choose God, God choose us.
33:00 He ordained us to be fruit bearers.
33:04 It is not the letters, but the fruit that is the evidence
33:07 of Holy Spirit ordination.
33:08 That's what John had.
33:10 His training was simple, but it was profound in its simplicity.
33:14 And because his training was of a higher order, so too was his
33:18 message and his methods.
33:21 You see, John did not use fancy gimmicks, or emotional theatrics
33:26 to captivate the crowds.
33:27 His message and approach was very different
33:30 from that of the Pharisees.
33:32 It was very simple.
33:33 He simply spoke the truth, and he spoke it in love.
33:37 John did not compromise the message in order to satisfy
33:40 the itching ears of his audience.
33:43 He did not sugar coat the message in order for it to
33:45 become more palatable for the people.
33:48 He simply spoke the truth, and he spoke it in love.
33:50 And tomorrow morning we're going to see specifically
33:53 exactly what John spoke.
33:55 But in this we see that John was secure in his simplicity,
34:00 confident in his identity.
34:02 2. Secure in his simplicity.
34:06 And that's what's going to give us success friends.
34:08 I want you to notice Testimonies for the Church, Volume 2,
34:11 page 608. It says:
34:27 Success is found in simplicity.
34:30 When we try to change things, and adopt things to meet the
34:37 changing cultures, and to satisfy the postmodern mindset
34:42 friends, many ministries have no power.
34:45 Because they're trying to replace the simplicity of God's
34:50 Word with something else that appeals to the carnal flesh.
34:53 John was confident in his identity.
34:56 He was secure in his simplicity.
34:59 But most importantly, 3. He was genuine in his humility.
35:04 When people asked John who he was, he didn't even
35:08 tell them his name.
35:09 His simple response was, I am the voice of one
35:12 crying in the wilderness.
35:14 He took no credit to himself.
35:16 He didn't show them his resume.
35:19 He didn't even tell them his name.
35:21 He simply said, I'm the voice...
35:23 It's not my name that's important.
35:25 It's not my title, or position, it's simply my voice,
35:29 my message that's important.
35:31 When the people approached John and said, John people are
35:34 leaving you and going to Jesus.
35:35 It was then that John said, in John 3:30, he said, He must...
35:40 what? increase. I must decrease.
35:44 You see, John was great in the sight of the Lord,
35:47 because he was small in the sight of himself.
35:51 And this is what made him safe for God to bless.
35:56 When you study the Bible, friends, the Bible tells us
36:00 the stories of great men and women of faith, that God used in
36:04 powerful, potent, and profound ways, and that which
36:08 they all had in common; it was humility and self distrust.
36:13 We look at Moses. When the Lord called him Moses said,
36:15 Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?
36:17 I am not eloquent.
36:18 I am slow of speech.
36:20 And yet God was able to use him as a powerful deliverer
36:22 to set the people free of the bondage of Egypt.
36:26 Look at Solomon, king of Israel.
36:29 When God called him, in his prayer he did not as for riches.
36:33 He did not ask for power.
36:35 He asked for wisdom.
36:36 He said, Lord I'm a little child.
36:38 I know not how to come in or to go out.
36:40 I need wisdom. And it tells us that Solomon was not wiser,
36:47 wealthier, or more exalted than when he spoke those words.
36:52 I'm just a little child.
36:53 I don't know what to do.
36:55 And he leaned wholly upon the Lord's wisdom.
36:58 You look at Jeremiah, the weeping prophet.
37:00 When God called him, he said, Ah Lord God, I am but a child.
37:03 I can't speak. But the Lord says, Don't worry.
37:05 I'm going to put My words in your mouth;
37:08 humility, self distrust.
37:11 Daniel, when he saw the Lord he said, My comeliness
37:14 is turned into corruption.
37:15 I retain no strength.
37:17 Isaiah said, Woe is me, I am undone;
37:20 a man of unclean lips.
37:21 Peter, when he saw the glimpse of the divinity of Christ,
37:26 he fell at His feet and he said, Depart from me.
37:28 I'm a sinful man, O Lord.
37:31 And Paul, the mighty apostle said, I am the chief of sinners,
37:36 and least of all the apostles.
37:38 Even Ellen White said, I am a little girl.
37:40 They're not going to listen to me.
37:41 And even our Lord Jesus said, Of My Own self, I can do nothing.
37:47 And yet these were the ones that moved the world.
37:51 And so my friends if you feel yourself unworthy, insufficient,
37:55 and inadequate to live up to the holy calling God has placed upon
37:58 you, if you feel yourself insufficient,
38:01 you're in good company, because that was the mindset of all
38:04 of those who were great in the sight of the Lord;
38:07 humility and self distrust.
38:11 Prophets and Kings, page 175.
38:13 I love this promise. It says:
38:17 What everyone?
38:21 What is that word?
38:29 Nothing more helpless, but at the same time invincible,
38:34 in the one who is genuine in humility.
38:36 And so, such was John the Baptist.
38:38 Three things. What were they?
38:41 1. He was... Help me.
38:42 ...confident in his identity.
38:45 2. He was secure in his simplicity.
38:51 And 3. He was genuine in his humility.
38:55 And that's what made him safe for God to bless.
38:58 Friends, do you realize that God is eager, and anxious to pour
39:04 out all the blessings of heaven upon us.
39:06 You know, sometimes when we pray we're praying, Lord bless me.
39:11 But friends, I believe that we ought to modify that prayer
39:16 a bit, because God wants to bless us, but many times He
39:20 doesn't because He can't trust us with those blessings.
39:23 So instead of praying, Lord bless me, we ought to pray,
39:27 Lord change my heart and make me safe for You to bless.
39:34 And that which makes us safe for God to bless is when we have
39:38 the mind of Christ, the humility of Jesus.
39:43 It says in the book, Ministry of Healing, page 476, 478:
40:04 What are the angels looking for?
40:43 I want to be like that. How about you?
40:47 And that was the characteristic of the first forerunner.
40:50 So, too, will it be the characteristic of the final
40:54 forerunners in the last days.
40:56 Friends, let me ask you, How many want, and could use more
41:00 humility in your life?
41:02 And friends, we need to be careful that we don't become
41:06 proud of our humility, Amen?
41:09 I think it was C. S. Lewis that said, If you think you have no
41:14 pride, then you most surely do.
41:17 We need to be genuine in humility, to recognize our
41:24 unworthiness, our inadequacies, and our insufficiencies.
41:29 Because it is then that God takes the weak things
41:33 of the world and He shows Himself strong
41:37 through their experience. Amen?
41:40 I'll never forget receiving the e- mail inviting me to speak
41:44 at the General Conference Session
41:46 this past July in San Antonio.
41:48 How many of you were there at the
41:50 General Conference Session?
41:51 It was a wonderful experience; my first time going there.
41:54 The General Conference, as many of you know,
41:57 is held only once every five years.
41:59 This past year it was held at the Alamo Dome Stadium,
42:03 which seats over 65,000 people; the former home of the
42:07 San Antonio Spurs basketball team.
42:09 And when I received this invitation, this e-mail inviting
42:13 me to do one of the devotionals for the General Conference,
42:16 my initial reaction to that was I was shocked.
42:19 I was, I thought to myself, of the thousands of speakers
42:24 available, why was I chosen?
42:27 It had to be a mistake.
42:29 I read it over and over again.
42:30 I thought, They must have sent it to the wrong
42:32 person, because why me?
42:34 I don't have some high position of leadership in the church.
42:38 I'm not an ordained pastor.
42:40 I don't have any formal education that many
42:44 esteem so important.
42:45 All I have is a high school diploma, a two year certificate
42:49 from a small Bible college called Soswes,
42:51 field experience, and a walk with Jesus.
42:54 But I guess that's enough, Amen?
42:57 But I honestly, I honestly felt friends that there were
42:59 hundreds of others far more qualified, and far more Godly
43:03 than I was to take this solemn responsibility.
43:06 I felt unworthy, and inadequate, to speak at such a large stage
43:12 at such a sacred event.
43:14 But nonetheless I accepted the invitation with excitement,
43:17 but also a great level of trepidation.
43:20 But as I prayed, I put it in God's hands, and the Lord gave
43:23 me what I feel was a timely message for His church;
43:27 a message calling us back to our mission to preach
43:30 the Word in all the world.
43:32 When the General Conference began,
43:34 it was my first time attending.
43:36 I was there with my wife, and we saw the tens of thousands
43:39 of people crawling like ants all over the place.
43:42 I tried not to think about the fact that I was going to speak
43:46 to them on the second Thursday of the General Conference.
43:48 I was nervous, but at the same time I had a sense of peace,
43:53 knowing that if God could use Moses,
43:55 surely He could use someone like me.
43:56 And the morning that I stood up on that stage in front of tens
44:01 of thousands of people, all the fear and nervousness vanished.
44:05 The Holy Spirit took full control.
44:07 I could sense a lot of people were praying for me.
44:10 It was surreal, friends.
44:11 It was like I was in some type of zone.
44:13 It was just God and I up there.
44:15 Jesus was lifted up.
44:16 The Spirit moved, and the people were blessed, and it was a
44:19 wonderful experience I am eternally thankful for.
44:22 But let me tell you what happened when I descended
44:25 the stage where all the delegates were gathered.
44:28 As I began to exit the building, it seemed like the whole
44:32 world just opened up.
44:34 Delegates from Africa, and Asia, and South America, and Europe;
44:38 they all started coming and asking me for my business card,
44:40 inviting me to come and to speak in their country.
44:44 And I was excited, but I quickly became afraid.
44:48 I was afraid, and here's the reason why.
44:51 Because the Bible says, To whom much is given, much is required.
44:57 I feel like I've been given too much too quick.
45:00 It's not something I sought, but it's
45:03 something that God brought.
45:05 And friends to be honest, just to be very transparent with you,
45:08 I'm not comfortable being up front.
45:11 I don't want to be famous.
45:14 I just want to be faithful.
45:16 And naturally I'm an introvert; very shy.
45:20 Growing up in Hawaii I had a disadvantage, I had an advantage
45:25 because I was close to the beach, but the disadvantage
45:28 is that in Hawaii we speak a different language there.
45:30 It's called simplified English.
45:32 We take a paragraph and we say it in one sentence.
45:37 We take a sentence and we say it in two words.
45:40 We take two words and we say it with our eyebrows.
45:43 Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!
45:45 It's basically broken English.
45:46 And so growing up I was very shy, slow of speech.
45:50 I'm not the smartest person, and I would much rather be behind
45:53 the camera taking pictures, rather than in
45:55 front of the camera.
45:56 I don't want to be famous; I just want to be faithful.
45:59 I don't want to be great in the sight of men;
46:04 only great in the sight of the Lord.
46:05 That night that I preached, I preached in the morning,
46:10 but that night 3ABN was reviewing the day at the GC
46:13 and they made a comment on the devotional that I shared
46:16 that morning, and someone on 3ABN called me
46:18 a rising star in Adventism.
46:21 And my human nature was flattered, but I quickly became
46:24 afraid, because we've been told, friends, that many a star
46:27 that we have admired for its brilliancy
46:30 will go out in darkness.
46:34 Jeremiah said to his scribe Baruch, Seekest thou great
46:38 things for yourself? Seek them not.
46:40 And the reason is because if we're not watchful,
46:42 if we're not sober, the Devil will make us think
46:45 we're something special.
46:46 We've seen so many bright and shining stars loose their light,
46:50 and fall into darkness.
46:52 We're seen so many spiritual mentors fall
46:55 and turn back to the world.
46:58 And so, my friends, let us stay humble.
47:02 Lets allow Jesus to clothe us with humility day by day.
47:06 Lets stay on guard, and keep humble, and stay with Jesus.
47:10 The Devil is coming after you friends.
47:12 He has a trap prepared for you.
47:14 Because Satan knows that if he can get you,
47:18 he will get all those whom you have influence over.
47:23 And so stay with Jesus.
47:26 Stay with Jesus. Stay with Jesus.
47:30 Be sober, be vigilant.
47:34 The Devil is like a lion seeking whom he may devour.
47:37 Be sober, be vigilant, but don't be afraid because Satan,
47:41 even though he's a wily foe, even though he's a mighty enemy,
47:45 he is also a defeated enemy.
47:47 Can you say Amen? Amen.
47:48 The greatest one that you ought to fear is not the Devil.
47:51 He's a defeated enemy.
47:53 The one that you ought to fear the most is the one you look at
47:56 every single morning in the mirror.
47:57 Self is the enemy we need fear most.
48:03 I want to share with you a few more things,
48:05 as we bring this to a close soon.
48:09 The Bible tells us that perfect love casts out fear. Amen?
48:16 We don't have to be afraid of Satan,
48:18 but we ought to be afraid of self.
48:20 Now there's a lot of things that people are afraid of in life.
48:27 A lot of people are afraid of heights.
48:29 Any of you afraid of heights? afraid of flying?
48:33 Well, friends, God has taken that fear out of my heart.
48:36 You know, growing up in Hawaii, I grew up jumping
48:40 off cliffs into water.
48:41 We've done sky diving, and bungee jumping,
48:44 and jumping off buildings, and I don't have a fear of heights
48:47 like many people do.
48:49 Now there are others who are afraid of speed,
48:51 afraid of going fast.
48:53 I grew up riding dirt bikes, racing,
48:57 doing all of these types of activities,
48:59 or riding skate boards down hills and whatnot,
49:01 and so I'm not afraid of speed like many others are afraid of.
49:04 And this next one, some of you'll think I'm crazy,
49:07 but many people, including myself, growing up in Hawaii,
49:10 had a great fear of sharks.
49:12 But in recent years I've learned that sharks are amazing.
49:18 I love swimming with sharks.
49:20 Here's a picture of my wife and I swimming with sharks.
49:22 Sharks are amazing, amazing creatures.
49:26 I'm not afraid. I've swam with, many times, reef sharks,
49:29 and I've even swam with hammer heads,
49:31 and bull sharks, and a tiger shark.
49:33 And if you ever get the chance to go to Hawaii,
49:35 let me know, and we'll go swim with some sharks together.
49:38 Now how many of you want to do that?
49:39 It's all good? Alright!
49:40 We have some adventurous people here.
49:42 Some people are afraid of sharks.
49:43 I'm not afraid of that.
49:45 Others are afraid of death, but I've boarded planes in the past
49:48 where it wasn't certain that the plane would land.
49:53 And I'll never forget... It was just a few months ago in fact.
49:57 My wife and I boarded a plane heading to Fiji.
49:59 We were going to speak there.
50:01 And about fifteen minutes into the flight we realized that
50:05 we were flying a lot lower than we should.
50:09 And then we were sitting in the front row, and we saw the flight
50:14 attendant in his seat, and the captain called
50:16 him over the phone.
50:17 And then we saw the facial expression
50:20 of the flight attendant.
50:22 His face became serious and somber.
50:24 His eyes began to blink.
50:26 His breathing became heavy.
50:27 And we were just watching and wondering what was taking place.
50:30 And then we heard him say, So you want me to prepare for
50:34 an evacuation landing?
50:35 And at that moment we started to become nervous.
50:39 He ended the phone call and looked for some manual.
50:43 He was frantically trying to find something that would
50:45 instruct him how to prepare for evacuation landing.
50:48 Then he got on the intercom and he told all those on the plane,
50:51 We have a serious problem.
50:53 The captain has informed us that the landing gears are stuck down
50:57 and we need to go back to the airport.
51:00 We're not sure what's going to happen, so we need to prepare
51:03 for an evacuation landing.
51:05 The landing gear is stuck down, and you know it's better to be
51:08 stuck down than stuck up. Amen?
51:10 So at least it was stuck down, and not stuck up.
51:14 And so we were heading back to the airport, and he's teaching
51:17 us how to do the brace position, and what would happen,
51:19 in case we crashed.
51:20 And since we're in the front row, he looked at us,
51:23 and he told us, I need your assistance in opening
51:26 the evacuation emergency doors.
51:28 And he got a verbal from every single one of us.
51:30 His face, he was, there was no joking; somber and serious.
51:34 And then he said this to us, he said, And if for any reason
51:39 I get knocked out, unconscious, would you please remove
51:43 my body from the airplane?
51:45 And that's when we knew it was serious.
51:47 As we head back to the airport we saw the fire engines,
51:51 the fire trucks. We didn't know what was going to happen.
51:56 But I thought to myself, Lord, I'm on Your errands.
52:01 My life is in Your hands.
52:04 And if You are finished with me, then by Your grace I'm ready.
52:08 And there was a serene calmness and peace in that moment
52:12 that I can't describe with words.
52:13 There was no fear of death in that moment.
52:16 Because when your life is in God's hands, you have nothing
52:19 to be afraid of. Amen?
52:21 And while I can say that I'm not afraid to die, I'm not afraid of
52:25 jumping off cliffs, and going fast, and swimming with sharks,
52:29 there is one thing that I know that I am deathly afraid of.
52:34 I'm afraid of falling.
52:37 I'm afraid of a moral fall.
52:39 I'm afraid of hurting my God, disappointing others,
52:46 misrepresenting my church, embarrassing my family,
52:50 making a fool out of myself.
52:51 Friends, we've seen so many bright shining
52:54 stars in Adventism fall.
52:56 Let it be a warning to us that we are not indispensible.
53:00 If we're not faithful, God can use somebody else
53:05 to finish the work.
53:06 And as we see others falling, lets not kick them
53:10 while they're on the ground. Amen?
53:14 Our response as we see others falling and failing,
53:18 is Lord, but for Your grace, there go I.
53:22 To recognize our own humanity.
53:25 And so recently, especially as these opportunities have come
53:29 our way, I've been praying a different prayer.
53:32 I've been praying, Lord if you see that I'm ever placed in a
53:35 compromising situation where I would end up falling,
53:38 disappointing others, tarnishing Your work, and are breaking Your
53:42 heart, Lord let me die first.
53:47 I would rather die.
53:48 I would rather die than tarnish the work of God,
53:53 because I see the excruciating pain that it causes others.
53:58 Pray for your leaders, friends.
54:01 Pray for yourself.
54:04 I've seen so many of my own spiritual mentors fall.
54:07 Pray for those who are engaged in ministry, because they are
54:12 on Satan's most wanted list.
54:14 The Devil knows that if he can smite the shepherd,
54:17 the sheep will scatter.
54:19 And so I told my wife recently that I've been praying that
54:21 prayer just in case I die, she would understand why.
54:26 And half jokingly she said, You've been praying that?
54:28 So you want me to be a widow? she said.
54:32 She said, I'm glad that you distrust yourself.
54:35 But you ought to also pray that God will give you victory,
54:40 and that you can run like Joseph ran as well. Amen?
54:43 My friends, it's serious.
54:45 But I'm thankful for this opportunity, because I know
54:47 that this is how God is saving me.
54:49 So friends, as we get ready to close, let's never seek fame.
54:53 Let's only seek to be faithful.
54:55 Not to be great in the eyes of men,
54:57 but great in the eyes of the Lord.
55:01 My last quotation I want to read to you.
55:03 Christ's Object Lessons, page 403 reads:
56:10 And so my friends, do the duty that lies nearest.
56:15 Be faithful in that which is least.
56:17 Be confident in your identity, knowing that you're called.
56:22 Be secure in your simplicity, knowing that you're chosen.
56:26 And be genuine in your humility, because that is what
56:29 makes us faithful, faithful, faithful.
56:36 John the Baptist was great in the sight of the Lord,
56:40 because he was small in the sight of himself.
56:44 How many of you want to be like John the Baptist?
56:47 More importantly, how many of you want to be like Jesus?
56:51 And so let us pray and make John's declaration
56:58 our proclamation as well.
57:00 He must increase; I must decrease.
57:05 Lets live a life that's pleasing,
57:08 and brings joy to our King.
57:10 And may our lives be great, not in the sight of men,
57:14 but in the sight of the Lord.
57:16 If that's the experience you desire, would you bow your heads
57:19 with me as we pray?
57:21 Lord, we thank You so much for calling us,
57:26 and for choosing us to be Your forerunners, Your victorious
57:34 voices in these solemn times.
57:38 Lord we recognize that we're not worthy.
57:42 We're inadequate. The angels could do a much better job.
57:48 But thank You, Lord, that You have chosen us,
57:51 not just for the sake of those who will hear us,
57:56 but You've chosen us because through the process
58:00 You're trying to save us.
58:02 Lord please save us from ourselves.
58:05 Clothe us with Your humility, Your simplicity, Your identity,
58:13 and make us Your children, make us Your movement,
58:18 make us Your people.
58:20 Bless us the rest of this, Your Sabbath.
58:22 We thank You for hearing.
58:24 In Jesus' name we pray.
58:26 Let all of God's forerunners say Amen.