Would you would you stay standing, so we can pray together. Father, we are so grateful to be back together. Lord, it’s amazing to just hear people’s voices again, God, and and listen to each other and realize that we are one family, we are one community. And Lord, even though we are in the midst of just a different time. God, I pray that we can embrace you in the differences that we can learn to love you even though things are strange.

And God, I pray that you will just keep on just pouring into us courage and encouragement and joy. I pray today as we listen to your word, that it would move our hearts, that it would transform our lives. Lord, we love you. Thank you for being our living hope in Jesus name. And then. You may be seated. Yes, I give all of you a virtual hug, it is great to be together. It’s great to be able to know that that I have a family man.

I love you guys. I looked around the room and I just saw so many faces that I love and admire so much. And it just kind of moved me to just be able to sing to you. Sing with you. But good morning and happy New Year. It’s a joy to be able to be able to start the New Year with people in this room. It’s been a two hundred and ninety three days since the last time we were in this room together, since the last time we had people in this room.

And I’m grateful to God to be able to see those of you who are here. I’m also really grateful to God to see all of you who are watching us online. And I’m thankful for the technology that we’ve been given. That way, I can be in your homes and with you while you take a walk or with you in on your car rides, on your phone, on your laptops. And and for those who are just completely attached among us, those who are watching us while you’re in your bathrooms.

And I understand I’m not judging. I’m just grateful to be with you wherever you are. Welcome to twenty twenty one. Can you believe it’s a new year and hopefully a new refreshed sense of being? My goal as we start this year is to begin to give us some instructions as we traverse out of the valley that was twenty twenty and into the hills where we are, where we hopefully will find ourselves and also hopefully we’ll also meet our maker a little bit more.

We’ll have a renewed sense of purpose in our life today. We’re actually beginning a five part lesson series that I’ve been thinking about for a long time, a sermon series crafted for our church for you. This sermon series I’ve wrestled in prayer with and contemplation and also with deep emotion. Every word that I’m going to share over the next five weeks. I’ve really thought about and I prayed that those words would transform you by the Holy Spirit.

But before we begin, I would like to just encourage you again, especially if you’re watching us online. I mean, you can do it here. You can grab your phone and just share the link, share this link, hit the share button if you’re on Facebook in the bottom right corner. If you’re not on Facebook and you’re watching with family and friends on YouTube, you can pull up the link, copy it, send it to some coworkers, send it to some family members and some friends.

And I’m trying to remove all the hurdles from you. And so I even crafted a sentence that you could say, Hello, friend. My church is doing a series of talks about finding hope and peace in twenty twenty. Who doesn’t want to find hope and peace in twenty twenty. I know it’s been a hard year for a lot of for a lot of people. I hope this can help and then you can put a smiley face whatever you’d like.

Happy New Year’s and then you could send it to some folks, you don’t have to use this, but I’m just trying to remove hurdles, share this message. This, again, what we’re going to share over the next five weeks, I think can have transformational qualities in our lives. We’re going to be talking about God’s work being an easy OK. That is burden being a light. And the fact that he calls those who are heavy, burdened and laden and those who are really traveling with with baggage on their backs.

And and what I’m what I’m hoping that will happen is that you can maybe be an instrument, you can be an instrument for God to use to to reach more people and to lay some burdens off their back. And as you’re doing that, I just want to I want to set up the sermon for you today. And a few moments we’re going to watch a video. It’s kind of like a year in review video. It’s a snapshot of 2020.

But I have to warn you, first off, it might be emotional. There’s a lot that happened in 2020 that would make us that way. And we aren’t making any sort of political statement or anything about anything. We’re just trying to show you what happened. There’s a lot that went down in 2020 and so also it’s going to be quite long. It won’t feel like it, but it’s about twenty minutes long. Fittingly for 2020.

After we watch it, I’d like to come up and make some comments about what I believe God would have our posture be as we exit the rubble of twenty twenty today and for the next five weeks.

I’d also like to help us just think through the experiences that we had collectively through the word of God, and give us some perspective about the year that was before I’m able to do that. First, I have to remind you, this was twenty twenty. In large part because of some new virus information, we did have a short family talk on Wednesday, we made an announcement about having limited attendance for all of our services throughout the month of March. We asked out of an abundance of concern and all of the most vulnerable, stay home at that time based on the information we were receiving from the CDC, from our local government, and also from the federal government and from the opinion of health care professionals in our congregation, this was our recommendation.

But as you know, these situations are quite fluid. Most of the nearly three hundred confirmed cases are at hospitals like this one here in Ground Zero for this mysterious virus, and it’s also showing up in other cities, as well as Japan, Thailand and South Korea. The concern, of course, how to stop it from spreading. A Chinese scientist has confirmed that it can be transmitted between people and in one case, one person infected 14 health care workers.

So there’s a scramble to contain this at what’s the busiest time of the year for travel here in China. Literally hundreds of millions. I mean, for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Tony Fernandez. And welcome to the very first Sunday of twenty twenty. Can you believe it? If you believe he did it. In preparing for the sermon, I’ve become sort of amazed by how clearly the Bible speaks into this area. And this is a fact that we have to understand conclusively right from the very beginning.

God wants us to be better, that God wants our lives to be better than God wants to bring us new things in a new year that God desires for us to move, as the apostle Paul says, from one degree of glory to the next. Now to growing concerns about the deadly coronavirus officially hitting the US. Here’s what we know. A Washington state resident fell ill after returning from Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began. Officials now say more than 400 people have been sickened right now.

So much of the world is just in shock and disbelief. Kobe Bryant, the legendary NBA star, is dead tonight. His adorable 13 year old daughter, Gianna, known as Gigi, also dead tonight. Seven other people, a baseball coach, a pilot, all dead. The helicopter they were traveling in crashed outside of Los Angeles. No word yet on why it crashed, but it went down and it caught fire on a hillside in Calabasas, California.

Breaking news, the first death from coronavirus here in the United States, a man in his 50s died from covid-19 infection in Washington state. Authorities describe him as an at risk patient, but say he had no apparent travel to China. Dysfunction in and of itself isn’t does it just come from the dysfunction you will discover, we all discover is that actually when there’s something dysfunctional in our lives, there is something that runs underneath our dysfunction.

NBA is suspending the season as a basketball fan. I’m depressed. One minute you just saying, OK, this is an elevated case of the flu.

This is what you’re thinking at the moment when you talk about weeks ago and then all of a sudden you get a phone call that you don’t think I’m in the school for weeks at a time because schools close. Yesterday, we got word from Broward County Commission that they recommended that we limit meetings of groups over 50. This was a surprise to us, but as a church, not for ourselves. And in an effort to prevent further spread, we have chosen to follow that recommendation.

So here’s what that means. This week, we’re encouraging you to meet with your community group on Sunday or at home with friends and family to watch a very special live stream service. Loved ones of Briona Taylor grieving and outraged the 26 year old Louisville first responder shot eight times and killed by police. What we’re going to see today is how do we respond when darkness and fear is everywhere? How do we respond when darkness and fear is everywhere? And look, you know what this feels like because you’re living it right now.

Fear has run amok in our society. The question about what’s next, who’s got it? Maybe I’m with somebody in my household who has this virus. What does it mean for my job? I know I’ve heard stories of people within our own congregation who are struggling for work because of this virus. What does it mean for our kids, for my kids and their schooling? What does it mean for my own financial future? What does it mean for the markets?

You’ve seen the markets go up and down and up and down. What does it mean for my own health? Maybe I’m older and I don’t even know what to deal with, how to deal with all of these things. The fear, fear has blanketed our country and it is thick groaning. Patients are lined up bumper to bumper along tightly packed corridors and every ward, every inch of this hospital and its 370 beds is being overrun by covid-19.

Today is a celebration today we gather in homes all around the world to celebrate one simple truth. It was one thing that changes everything we celebrate this morning, along with hundreds of thousands of other people across our wide world who celebrate this one idea, that the tomb is empty. The Jesus Christ is alive. Is this phrase I’ve been saying a lot, and it’s this phrase here, I cannot wait for things to get back to normal hearing this idea everywhere.

And honestly, it’s because we’re ready for some normalcy. I’m ready for some normalcy in my schedule. And I’m ready. I’m ready not to have to wear a mask. I’m ready to watch sports again. Just just to watch live sports again would be awesome. I’m ready to not have to be worried about people being sick or the stock market crashing or losing loved ones. Video shows Aubury out for a run in the McMichaels chased him down. The video caused a national uproar when old wounds to the surface last week.

A video was released showing Amuad Aubury, an unarmed black man being shot and killed by two armed. What? The video was horrible and left to everybody who watched it broken hearted about this tragic loss of life. It was evil, but it also was emblematic. It was emblematic of a broader issue and brought to the surface a tension that’s within our community. See, black and brown people in our country are angry. Some are scared. Others are frustrated with the system, and many are turning to the church for answers.

I just want to be vulnerable in a climate in which we live, where politics and race and socio economic issues have polarized and colored every issue in our life. It seems hard to see through the fog, but it’s our job to say something. I stand above the Pembroke Pines neighborhood where a man was found dead and a woman severely wounded. I discovered a deceased male lying on lying on the ground on the inside of the residence, as well as an injured female.

The woman rushed to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood as we heard the devastating news of our sister and her family, Joan Grant. Today I’m asking for everybody in our community to fervently pray to stop whatever you are doing right now and maybe even get on your knees and pray. Please pray for our sister, Joan Grant and her family. Joan’s husband, Fitzroy, died from a gunshot wound in his home this past Friday. During that same altercation, Joan sustained massive injuries that required surgery.

As far as I know, she is out of surgery. But Joan’s recovery will require her to endure so much on so many levels. We are praying for a miracle. We’re praying for the hand of God. We are praying for his mercy. Also, remember to keep Joan’s sister, Beverly Campbell, and her mother in our prayers. Both are members of the Broward Church. Please pray for them. We pray for God’s mercy. We pray for miraculous healing for our dear sister Joan.

So wherever you are, would you please join us in prayer before we begin our service for our sister, Joan and her family? This thing is building up inside of me. And it was hitting me that I had lost the ability to. I want to show you this. So this is some of the things that have happened to me.

So with my left hand, which is my good hand, I can point this is me pointing with my right hand. I can’t I can’t point anymore. And this is like I can open my hand, I can close my hand, but I can’t do fine motor skills with his hand. And I cannot do that with my arm. I can’t do with my leg and I can’t do it with my foot. And this was all I’m putting this together.

And so there’s these areas of my life and I’m like, I’ve got to face this and grieve over this.

In Minneapolis tonight, tensions are high as four police officers have been fired after a man was pinned to the ground and died. The incident was caught on camera.

This past Tuesday, a viral video swept through everyone’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feed like a wave, like an angel of despair or a virus. It was disturbing and brought all who watched it to their knees. We all watched it together. We all mourn together. Here’s a mission statement if you want one. Our mission is to be an anti-racist church by being the people of God. This is our mission. So this probably is not going to come as much of a surprise to you, but we want to start with the best news possible, and that is about all of the people in the recent past that have become Christians, all the baptisms.

And so we wanted to show a little slideshow of all of the people who have been who have been converted in the recent weeks.

And big surprise this week was not any different from the last week.

And so we are really, you know, I think a lot about what’s been going on in our country. And I’ve had to ask myself, do I have the right to become coming to have the right to be angry? You know, to be honest, I’ve been across the whole spectrum of emotions over this last couple of weeks. Our nation is in an uproar because we don’t really know yet how to love one another. And we’re trying to perfect that theory, but we’re not doing a great job of it.

As states expand testing the number of confirmed cases, now two million with one hundred thirteen thousand deaths, 883 deaths just yesterday. Meanwhile, America continues to reopen from airline passenger traffic to the Navy Pier in Chicago to the Mall of America in Minneapolis to Miami Beach. Help me on a firm foundation hide me in your presence, I won’t go alone. I’m holding onto your salvation, washed in your forgiveness, this world won’t be my home. At this point, we anticipate as a leadership and as an eldership that we will have to suspend in-person worship services for the remainder of 2020 five.

I’m going to say that one more time at this point, we anticipate that we will have to suspend in person worship services for the… Ecclesiastes, these Chapter seven verse to the Bible reads, It is better to go to the house of mourning than go to a house of feasting.

For death is the destiny of everyone. The living should take this to heart.

This season has been really difficult over the last few months. We’ve seen many deaths of family members and also members of our congregation. We’ve seen the passing of Veronica Francis. His mom had the loss of John Grant, the loss of Pat Lloyd, and yesterday we lost our dear sister Gloria Galavis due to Covid related complications.

You are my rock. You are my rock, my sovereign peace, you calm the storm, you called me out. Now I can see you lift my eyes.

The joy you give. No one can take away. In your faithfulness, I stand. In your heart, I find my place. It’s the song of my father, his life in the water. Oh, that is offered by virtue and their being king choice. If you want it. If you want it. You got it. So if you want it, you want it. You got it. What is it worth to step on this? What is it worth?

Step in. What is it worth to be the change you hope to see? What is it worth to have this type of courage in our mundane, normal, simple lives? What is it worth to have this type of faith or this type of boldness, even if we’re not trying to destroy, you know, a giant and kill a pharaoh or whatever? And I’d simply answer you with one word. What is it worth while it’s worth everything? That’s what it’s worth every day.

Every day. Your work is being tested every single day. When you and I are tempted to go back on the truth of God, that is the moment when your worth is being tested.

Extraordinary images tonight of deadly explosions felt by millions in Lebanon.

Blasts shook the city and injured thousands. This morning, Hollywood is grieving the loss of Chadwick Boseman, the star who played iconic black figures. News of his death was announced on social media detailing his four year battle with colon cancer. The actor never spoke publicly about his diagnosis, even as it progressed to stage four. We’ve used this model as a way of explaining what seems to be honestly the only appropriate way of describing why we. God’s church in the modern world, the church, simply put, is a people of God.

Primarily exist for the glory of God and for the benefit of others that’s tied up in that much which exists. Primarily. For the glory of God and the benefit of others, this is what that mantra in the church and for ourselves means and money that we received from the church and brought in the church in Florida is always my hope and God. But the way I feel is that God is able to provide a lot of the hope that we feel for them because it’s through with them that we are there again to train, to know that what we get goes a long way.

It goes a very, very, very long way to put food on a whole film. Not one person on a whole fancy. So I think it’s that we think about that we can think about the impact for eternity, that this can have lives, people. The president of the United States now confirming to the world that he and the first lady of the United States have both tested positive for the coronavirus and they will quarantine. Oh, my goodness.

I just had my jaw open when, you know, like revelation when she said, don’t put words in my mouth. And I think to myself, how often do I do that? How often do I give God the motives for what I think? I want to know I want to know because we believe that knowing equals peace. It’s interesting to me that that when you when you see God speak to people who are in need of knowing who are who are in a desire for knowing, she often doesn’t give them any answers to.

But instead, he gives them an exhortation, a reminder to his people, and he points back to his own soft, basically he explains to the people that you don’t need to know if you know what. Now to the scenes we are witnessing across the country, Americans already casting ballots in record numbers. Take a look at this video here in New York City. As early in-person voting began yesterday, some waiting hours to perform that civic duty. That’s in a state that’s not even a battleground.

We just learned that more votes have been cast this cycle with nine days to go than all of the early vote in twenty sixteen, massive lines stretched for blocks with voters determined to make their ballot count like this mother and her 18 year old daughter who’s voting for the first time. I feel that it is our most fundamental right to vote. He is president elect Joseph Robinette Biden at 77 years old. Tonight, at least one point nine million Americans have received the first dose of the covid-19 vaccine that was authorized earlier this month, far short of the 20 million doses officials predicted could be administered before the end of the year.

Jesus is Lord at our baptism is so incredibly powerful and needs to be thought through before we say it, because we’re saying that for the rest of our life that our hearts are going to be given one hundred percent to God, our emotions are going to be given one hundred percent to God. And yeah, we’re going to fail. But God, we always have to go back to God in poverty of spirit so that he can forgive us and create in us that pure heart and restore a steadfast spirit so we can be in his kingdom and live to see him face to face.

Well, federal authorities are investigating a Christmas morning explosion that rocked downtown Nashville and appeared to be intentional. The early morning blast left fires and a smoky scene above the city.

At least 20 buildings in the area were damaged and three people were injured. Police said they were responding to a call of shots fired when they saw an RV parked in front of an AT&T transmission building. The RV was playing a recording warning people to evacuate in the next 15 minutes before a bomb exploded. That was 20, 20, and I want to thank you, man, for putting that together. It took about a month and a half or something like that, so.

And maybe 20, 20 is maybe the clearest example that we have all experienced brokenness.

Together, collectively, we have all faced kind of the same fate, and I could certainly go through the list that we just saw, but honestly, I’m exhausted talking about the year that was certainly we’ve seen victories. It was encouraging to see all the people baptized. There are certainly things to celebrate, but this year we have felt brokenness. And doing a year in review will won’t remind us that, rather, doing a year in review doesn’t have to remind us that brokenness is not fun, in fact, that in the moment it hurts a lot.

It’s exhausting and many times it’s unpleasant. The year we faced all of us on all fronts, we experienced brokenness emotionally, physically, psychologically. There are feelings that have been brought to the surface since we started this year. The feelings of anxiety or of aimlessness or of apathy, we have been overwhelmed to the point of paralysis, unsure of how to move or even if to move forward, giving ourselves over to fantasy world. Some of us are now more attached to our phones than ever before.

And that’s partly because this whole experience has shown us that this whole experience has has illustrated the idea that we are broken people and maybe we felt these emotions in waves, or maybe we feel like we’re in the middle of a mighty ocean.

But what’s interesting to me is that this stuff and really the stuff that we saw throughout our timeline, all that stuff isn’t really just about 2020. It’s not new.

The brokenness, 2020 just exposed it. Anxiety, if you don’t know, this is an epidemic in our country, according to the National Institute of Health, nearly one in three of adolescents aged 13 to 18 will experience an anxiety disorder that’s one in three, not just will have anxiety, but will experience an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders in children went up 20 percent since 2009, and that study was done back in twenty eighteen. Just imagine what it might be today. Aimlessness has become kind of the new norm for many. One researcher has called millennials a lost generation. He says their meandering aimlessly in limbo. He says that it’s because there is unmet. There’s rather there’s just a lot of expectations. One degree doesn’t cut it enough. It used to be OK for a bachelor’s.

Now you have to get a master’s for that same job. We have more choices than ever before that the young people in our country don’t really want to be adults. They prefer to live in a fantasy world because they figure out they feel like they can at least have an impact on that world. Apathy has become commonplace. You know this it’s hard to be passionate when life is not worth living. According to the American Psychological Association, 30 percent, that’s the increased rate of death by suicide.

The United States from 2000 to 2016, 50 percent in the increase of suicides among girls and women between 2000-2016. Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States in 2016, and that number is expected to rise in 2020 significantly as the fourth leading cause amongst people. It’s not just a young problems, the fourth leading cause among people between the age of thirty five and fifty five. And that was before national shut downs, again, where these numbers are expected to dramatically increase.

And all I’m saying, again, is that 2020 didn’t cause the brokenness, it just exposed it. We are a broken people. We are looking for answers, and when I consider all of this, my mind is drawn back to the biblical character Job. Job for those of you unfamiliar with the story as an ancient character, so ancient, in fact, that we don’t even know when he lived, but from all accounts, he was a righteous man who is blessed with wealth and a great family.

But one day the rug was pulled out from under him and everything was taken away. And the Book of Job, you read several accounts of Job’s trying to figure out how to make sense of everything that went on in his life, trying to figure out how to make sense of his brokenness. And one of the clearest examples is found in Chapter twenty three where Job speaks these words. This is Job. Chapter twenty three, verse three. If only I knew where to find him.

He’s talking about God. If only I could go to his dwelling. He’s saying, look, if I could just figure out how to get to God, maybe you can help me make sense of everything that has gone down in my life. He says. I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would find out what he would answer me and consider what he would say to me. Would he vigorously oppose me? No, he would not press charges against me.

He says he wants to go to meet with God so we can explain all that’s going on so we can sort of lay an argument before him and maybe God would listen to him and maybe God would change things and maybe God would make things better. Maybe at least he could make sense of the world that he’s living in. Now he wants to meet God. And so he says in verse eight. But if I go to the east, he is not there.

And if I go to the West, I do not find him. And when he is at work in the north, I do not see him. When he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. How sad is this? A man wants to figure out his life. He wants help, but he can’t seem to go where God is. He can’t seem to have God give him any answers so you can understand how to rebuild his life.

I’m left with no answers. I have this feeling of brokenness, but I’m left with no answers. I’m trying to see what I what I should value in life and trying to keep myself positive. I’m trying to understand what God is doing, but there is no way of knowing because he is not telling me.

And then in an act of faithfulness, Job utters these immortal words. But he knows the way I take I may not know where he is, but he knows me. When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. I love this passage. It’s a beautiful, simple faith. I may not understand, I may not be able to make sense of all of it. I may never have the answers I want, but I know when this is done, God will bring me forth as gold.

And here’s the point. This is the sermon series that we’re going to be focusing on, this is the whole idea, picking up the pieces. Yes, brokenness is terrible. Yes, it’s bad. However, hopefully we will learn over the next few weeks is that brokenness is also a pathway to the presence of God.

That it might be terrible in the moment, but it’s one of the best mechanism God uses, it’s actually divine to bring his people into a growing and dynamic relationship with him. Job’s point should be taken by all of us if we allow God’s process to do is work its work on all of us, in all of us, and eventually through all of us, our lives will come forth with a blessing. With all the talk about brokenness, I am I was trying to think about illustration and and I was brought to a familiar nursery rhyme.

You don’t often get great spiritual wisdom from children’s stories, but since I’m a dad, especially the young of young children and I’m a preacher, I never miss an opportunity to find an illustration. Sometimes it’s like I’m a freestyle rapper. That’s why I feel, you know, you give me unrelated words and I have to make a rhyme. It’s like bird hemoglobin and have to, like, figure out how they how they work together.

But but but but pray for me, by the way. This is a bad sickness. But anyway, I, I think that this illustration will be helpful.

You know, the nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty, Humpty Dumpty was an egg shaped character in the Mother Goose nursery rhymes, and he fell off a wall and broke himself at face value. It’s a really depressing story because the closing line is this says All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again. Meaning that he has fallen beyond repair. But this isn’t the first way this nursery rhyme was told, in fact, the first ever version in 1810, the rhyme didn’t sound like this.

It actually sounded significantly different to see if you can catch it. Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall. I never imagined I’d be saying Humpty Dumpty in a church service. This big smile to the heart of the dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. Three score men, which is 60 men in three, score more, couldn’t place Humpty as he was before. Do you catch the difference? The modern version, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty back together again, but the 1810 version, it’s couldn’t place Humpty as he was before.

I told you, you can make a preaching point out of a lot of things because God is in everything, but this may not seem like a big deal to you, but actually makes all the difference. One suggests that it’s over. That Humpty Dumpty is a lost cause, that the end is near, that is broken. This is what defines him. He will lay dead on the sidewalk forever more because he has taken a tumble that he will lay there broken forever.

It’s a depressing rhyme, but the other suggests that after the fall, he will look very different. And see what Jobe understood about our God. A God who loves us is that today, like the nursery rhyme says, we have experienced brokenness, a lot of us are on the side of a wall right now, and we may look at the whole situation in our whole country and our whole world and maybe even our own church and feel like it’s over and people may tell you that it’s over.

And the process for returning to what seems normal may feel daunting or overwhelming. It seems like an impossible journey to get out of the ashes. And the devil may try to convince you by speaking in your ear and you may start believing a lie that your faith is through and that your values are through and that your hope is lost. You may start believing the whispers in your ear that brokenness is what defines you. You laying on the floor is what defines you.

That anxiety defines you and aimlessness defines you and your apathy defines you. But I’m here to tell you what Job understood was that God, God exposes our brokenness so that he can put us back together in a different way. This idea is transformative, if you believe it’s. That’s what happened in 2020. Wasn’t that we had all these new cracks, it’s that we’ve always been that messed up. We’ve always had those problems, it was just exposing them.

It was just bringing them to the surface and maybe God did it. So that we could be built back in a much more beautiful, much more glorious way. You will look different after your brokenness, you will look different after this year, you will show signs of experience, you will have a couple of cracks. You’re going to talk different. You’re going to walk different. You’re going to act different because you are different. And like Job, believed in his heart of hearts, that’s not something that’s not something to regret.

It’s actually something to be grateful for. All those good folks at the palace couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty as he was before, but that’s a good thing because the last time Humpty Dumpty fell, he broke all over the place. Maybe the next time he falls, he won’t crack so hard. And see, after all you’ve learned and after all you’ve seen and after all the pain and after all the tears, who would want to go back to the way the things were before?

Brokenness in the potter’s hand is really beautiful. I love what Jesus says in Matthew Chapter 11. He says, Come to me all you who are weary and burdened.

Come, come, come, all of you who are broken. Come, come, come, come to me and it doesn’t say I’m going to return you exactly the way you were before, but he says he’s going to do this exchange and we’ll talk about this in future weeks. I will give you rest.

How about Isaiah, chapter sixty four verse eight says, But now, Lord, you are our father, we are the clay and you are the potter. All of us are the works of your hands.

All of us, we are the clay and you are the potter, all of us are just being molded by a God who loves us, who cares about us, who wants what’s best for us. And maybe the hard exterior of your former heart was broken during the fall of 2020. Maybe the rigid way that you viewed God was broken during the fall.

Maybe the things you valued, you now understand are fleeting. Maybe it wasn’t a curse at all, but it was all just crushed under the gravitational pull of 2020 so that you could understand what you are supposed to value. And maybe the fall was God’s way of exposing us and showing us that we are still people who need him. Maybe we got too complacent about life. Maybe we got too complacent about our spiritual lives. Maybe we maybe we didn’t take our times of God very seriously.

Maybe he just needed to show us that his grace was sufficient for us in weakness, that his mercy was actually able to sustain us and that he was a protector. Maybe God ripped off the proverbial Band-Aid or tore off the the mask that we hid behind to teach us, to grow us, to train us and to give us a chance to be finished, work in the hands of God. Because otherwise, maybe we would have just continued to live oblivious to our own brokenness.

Maybe that’s why we have to take this tumble. Because we would have just been oblivious to the fact that we had a lot messed up with us. I’m reminded of Paul’s words and Second Corinthians, chapter four, verse eight, so we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed.

We always carry in our bodies the death of Christ so that the life of Christ may also be revealed in our bodies. He describes the people who use the pressing of life, the taxing of life or the persecution of life to illustrate Christ in their lives. In unpressed by my fears, maybe, but I’m not crushed. It’s not over, I’m just going to embrace it because what God is going to God is going to teach me something through it. I’m going to learn to be a child of God that I was never able to be before.

I love that idea. I’m perplexed maybe by my own mental state, but I’m not abandoned. It’s not over and I’m not alone. I’m learning to grow through it. I’m learning to grow up. I’m learning to be challenged, to be changed, to be refined and see the death of Christ may be the perfect illustration that the fall is not the end of the journey. When you laid in the tomb, it’s not over yet, it’s probably and it is for Jesus, the beginning of a new one.

And I want to tell you the truth, as passionate as I am about this whole concept. This year has been miserable in many ways for me. I over the course of the last few months, I’ve been frustrated because I want to bring everything back to normal. I want to make everything go back to the way it was, and every time I go to grasp normal, it seems like it slips out of my hand like today in the auditorium.

There’s this is bittersweet for me. I love seeing you here. It makes me so happy. Honestly, it moves my heart to see all of you here. But I want to give Linda Maner, I know she’s not here a hug, you know, like I want to hang out with Wayne Faranga in the corner and talk about whatever. I want to see the Richards. And I want to I want to chat with the Jeans and and I want to hug you guys.

But, you know, I’m learning that it’s OK, we’re going through something together, that I’m being pressed and being pressed is a good thing and I don’t want to miss the luster of God’s refining. The gold of God is now what I’m after, not the comfort of yesterday. The gold of God, the refining, the glistening of God is what I’m going for. I don’t care at all about my previous life, who cares? Because what God has before me is much better than what I left behind.

You have been changed and I’ve been changed. And, guys, there is no going back. You can miss the past, you can mourn for the past, but as you lay there with all of your falls from 2020, let’s allow God in his spirit and his work to pick the pieces back or pick up the pieces and put them back together again over the next five weeks or the next four weeks. I guess these series of lessons I said this before, but they have been crafted and I say that because I’ve really prayed over every word I’m going to say and I sought God for these lessons.

They have been crafted to help us pick up the pieces, to help us. So to help us answer this question, how do we make the brokenness of 2020 into the gold of 2021. I want to encourage you next week to come back, whether you’re watching us online or whether you’re back here in person.

I want to encourage you to come with an open heart. In the meantime, I want to give you a challenge.

This may seem like an obvious thing, but the journey we’re about to take is going to be quite difficult because of that. I want to encourage you to spend every day in prayer, reading and worship. Every single day, and I know that a lot of us already do this, but over the next five weeks especially, take our time every single day to pray, to read and to reflect on the mighty awesome power of God. And then we can come back next week and we can get to work picking up the pieces.

Let’s go to God in prayer. Father, we are so incredibly grateful, Lord, we’re so grateful that you love us, we’re so grateful that you have created a bond with us that would allow us to meet you into your presence and help us to be restored in the way we’re supposed to be restored. God, I pray that we won’t want to just go back to normal life, but we’ll have instead just kind of an eager expectation of what lies in front of us.

Laura, thank you so much for Jesus in the illustration that he gives us in his life and his death, Lord, in his death, he was buried in the tomb and everybody thought it was all over. But it was just the very beginning. It was just the beginning of a transformative, transformational religion, the transformational faith that would dominate the entire world. God, I pray that we can have that same mindset that that today we may be kind of lying dead or lying on the side of our proverbial walls.

But, Lord, you have given us an opportunity to have hope. Thank you for Jesus, Lord. Thank you for his death. Thank you for his sacrifice. Thank you for the fact that through his death we gained life. That I love you. I praise you. Thank you for the people in this room. I pray you bless their lives. I pray that today is just another illustration for all of us that you love us. I pray today feels like a warm embrace that we pray.