Confidence For The Future - Comfort in the Darkest Places of Life

Unpacking Bible verses about the strength and courage found in God.

Ross Sawyers
Jun 7, 2020    1hr 5m
In this message Pastor Ross Sawyers teaches from Psalm 23 chapter 4. He unpacks several Bible verses about the strength and courage found in God. He explains that with God as our shepherd we can walk through the darkest valleys in life confidently, knowing that he is protecting us. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Ross Sawyers: 00:01 Some of our greatest realizations come when we walk through, and reflect on, some of the darkest valleys and spaces of our lives. Over these last few months, Coronavirus has certainly moved us into a space that has been a dark valley, and it's had varying degrees of impact on each person. And in these last several days in addition to the Coronavirus, we've had the implications of what occurred after the murder of George Floyd, and these have been some dark days to consider the kinds of things that are happening in our country. When we think about this great realization in hindsight, there are a number of good things that emerge out of tragic things, and God often brings good out of that which is difficult, hard, and horrific.

Ross Sawyers: 01:21 In Genesis 50:20, we were talking about this in our family the other night, we've had a number of conversations in these days about everything going on, I'm sure you've had the same. And this verse came to mind for us, and it was at the end of Genesis, obviously, in chapter 50, the last chapter, towards the very end of it. And Joseph's brothers they're concerned because their dad had died, and they had felt like their dad actually was protecting them from Joseph because they had thrown Joseph into a well and then sold him into slavery, and then he spent time in prison. So it was fair for them to be concerned that Joseph might retaliate. But Genesis 50:20 says, Joseph is replying to his brothers he said, "What you meant evil, God meant for good, to preserve many people alive." And there are a number of times where people mean something for evil, and yet God means to take it for good. And we've seen a number of good things emerging out of what are really, really difficult times.

Ross Sawyers: 02:39 I continue to appreciate God's leading of us in the 23rd Psalm, we're in verse 4 today. And what I'm appreciative of, is before things are happening, God has been leading us to where he wants us to be in the scripture. And I can't think of a more timely verse of scripture for the cultural moment we're in right now, then Psalm 23, verse 4. For some of you that will be familiar, for others this is new every week, that's awesome. And we're thinking under the big idea of confidence for the future, and with all the uncertainty and the darkness that's around us, how do we walk with a joy, and a peace, and a confidence in the future? And I believe in the 23rd Psalm, we find exactly how we can walk with that confidence.

Ross Sawyers: 03:41 I do want you to know that in the month of June we will spend time in the 23rd Psalm, and then we'll hang out in a message on Father's Day in a different place, and then we'll move into July. What I'd like for us to do is take the month of July and do a sermon series that is reflective of what's going on right now around race, reconciliation, forgiveness, what are real solutions moving ahead? How can we as a 121 community of people together, how can we biblically, thoughtfully, prayerfully, conversationally have what will be some uncomfortable conversations, hard conversations, and yet in the midst of grace with each other, we can learn and have things revealed to us that maybe we didn't even realize in our own hearts. And we want to be a part of what God's doing in this moment that's redemptive, and helpful, and good. And I think in these days we can be some of the best listeners, I believe that's one of the best things we can do is to listen really well until we understand. And when we understand it, then we validate and value the person we're speaking with as we have those conversations together, and as we have them out and about with other people. And I'm excited to see what God has for us, and the redeeming kinds of things that he wants to do, and we want to be a part of that. This is not a short term something, this is a long haul, it has been for hundreds of years, and it will continue to be. And I just want to make sure before we really engage in the dialogues that we have some good space, I want to have good space alone with the Lord, make sure I'm having really good conversations with different people and really understanding afresh from scripture how best to lead us. And I believe we can have comments along the way, and then really do a deep dive in July. And my hope is that'll just spur us on into interwoven and ongoing conversation about what God's doing in this arena. So thank you for being willing to jump in there. And again, we want to be the most thoughtful and loving of people as we move ahead.

Ross Sawyers: 06:24 In the 23rd Psalm, the way that we can move ahead well on whatever an issue is in the day, we can come to the 23rd Psalm and know that there's incredible confidence in the good shepherd. He says, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." It's very personal to King David as he writes this Psalm. And in here, he talks about God being his shepherd, it's personal to him. God is personal and intimate with us, and we're utterly content in him. This Psalm really is about God, and that our confidence is in God alone. And God's the one who makes us lie down in green pastures, he's the one that leads us beside quiet waters. He restores our soul when we're upside down and cast, and we've strayed and are isolated, and we're prone to things that are away from God and not about God. He comes in gently and tenderly restores us, and he guides us in the right paths, and he does it for his own namesake for his glory. That's what we want to be about, a people that are being led by God, for the glory of his own name. Now that right path that he leads us on, there are obstacles on that path, there are difficulties and challenges on the right path. Unlike the Waze app, which I spent time talking about last week, it's one of my favorite apps because it actually helps me avoid the obstacles and the things that would slow me down, moving from one destination to another. And yet the right path that God has for us oftentimes does not involve avoiding obstacles, rather we move through those obstacles, and he moves through those with us.

Ross Sawyers: 08:07 God has interesting things to say to us in James chapter 1, this is odd to our ears, but he says, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach." We're asking God for wisdom in these days, we're asking him to take these trials that were a part of, and to build our endurance, and to mature us, and grow us, and make us more like him, that's how God operates and functions. And we do this in Colossians 3:3, "Confidently, because we're hidden in Christ." We're safe in Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: 09:00 That brings us to verse 4. And I want to take it phrase by phrase, three phrases out of this verse, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death." Again, he's coming off of a personal shepherd, he's content in him. This is a shepherd that gets him to the refreshing places, and then he's the one that restores him when he gets off path, and then he guides him in the right path. And now he says, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death." So if the right path means I'm walking through the valley of the shadow of death, I'm still confident that God as my shepherd is leading me through that valley.

Ross Sawyers: 09:40 I mentioned Phillip Keller, who wrote the book, A Shepherds Look at the 23rd Psalm, and I continue to gain insight from him to understand the shepherd. That's not a world I'm familiar with, and so I lean on others to be helpful in that regard. And I think he does a great job in describing the shepherd. And when he talks about the shepherd, he says that the shepherd with his sheep, in the summertime, has to move his flock into distant summer ranges. They move more away from where their home space is, to further away places. It's actually a really slow trek, and they're moving towards the mountains, moving through the mountains. There's rushing rivers, there's Meadows and valleys, and there can be dangers like floods and avalanches, but this is the way to the higher ground, and it can be a dangerous way to the higher ground. And he says that the way to the higher ground is through the valleys, and we can be confident because of the shepherd has gone ahead of the sheep, and has been on the lookout. To take care, to make sure he can lead them through those obstacles, lead them through the valleys, make sure they're on the best route, and the right path. It's a well-watered route, and he's looking for quiet pools and streams and ponds, the still waters for them. And then the best food that he can find as they're moving towards that higher land, that higher ground, and included are the dangers like the floods in avalanches.

Ross Sawyers: 11:30 Think about what he's saying, "Even though I'll walk through the valley of the shadow of death." As the shepherd would move the sheep through the day and would come nearer towards the night. The shadows would begin to engulf the valley and the path that he would take them on, and lurking in the shadows would-be predators, and thieves, and those who want to attack and harm and do danger. And they would move about stealthily, and be easily unseen through the valley. In order to get to the higher ground where the good feeding is, the shepherd takes the sheep through the valley, the valley of the shadow of death.

Ross Sawyers: 12:27 What are some of those valleys that we experience, that you experience, that I experience, that all of us...Some of us have common experiences like this, others may not have experienced certain things. But one thing that has been notable to me at 121 in the last few weeks, several in our church body have seen their mothers die and pass into the arms of the Lord. There's been a contentment in them, and a confidence of their moms knowing Jesus, the good shepherd, and that doesn't minimize the hurt and the pain and the grief when there's the loss of a parent. The 23rd Psalm is a Psalm that we often read and share at a person's celebration of life for their funeral, there's incredible confidence and hope in this Psalm. Phillip Keller said this about death, in the valley of the shadow of death, this would be the darkest valley. He said, "Death is but the dark valley opening out into an eternity of delight with God." While it's a dark valley, death, for those who are in Christ, those who know God, those who say the Lord is my shepherd, not a shepherd, not a God out here, but he's my shepherd. For those who are able to say that through relationship with God in Jesus Christ, while it's a dark valley, it is an opening into an eternity of delight with God. Even though I'll walk through the valley of the shadow of death, God is going to carry them through the valley. We will come through that valley, one way or another, safely into the arms of God.

Ross Sawyers: 14:43 For a number of people over the last several weeks there's been the dark valley of depression and loneliness, and it's overcome many. There's been the dark valley of contemplating the prospects of what am I going to do for work? Millions are without work. How am I going to provide? How I take care of my family? What does a job look like next?

Ross Sawyers: 15:15 There's the dark valley of devastated relationships, relationships that are broken in families, friendships. We know statistically that in these last few months, that domestic abuse has increased in a large amount, it's a dark valley for those who experience that kind of abuse.

Ross Sawyers: 15:46 We know in these days that there's the dark valley for many in fear of their skin color causing mistreatment, or prejudice, or racism towards them. We know that there's the dark valley of wondering will those in authority misuse their authority, rather than protect and restrain evil, they're actually perpetrating evil.

Ross Sawyers: 16:26 We know those who are in authority, that it's a dark valley right now because they may be doing everything right and good to be protectors and restrainers of evil, and then there's still a backlash against them.
Ross Sawyers: 16:46 There are so many different dark valleys that we might find ourselves in. If you're in Nigeria right now, as a Christian, you're walking in a dark valley, wondering if you'll survive today, and live today, or not. There's an increasing number of Christians being killed in Nigeria, and then I just read this morning that there were 27 killed yesterday in central Mali, in Christian communities. Christians are being ravaged in many countries in Africa, it's a dark valley for them. And yet, they know that even though they walk through the valley of death, they know God is walking with them through it.

Ross Sawyers: 17:33 King David, who wrote this psalm, in First Samuel chapter 30, we find one story among many about him, where he's walked through one of these dark valleys, the valley of the shadow of death. David and his man had been out protecting and taking care of things away from their city, and when they returned to their city, they discovered that their city was burning, that their women and children had been taken captive, and this was why the military was gone. And David, and those who came back, the scripture says, that they wept until they had no more strength to weep. And we've experienced and seen that in these days, where there are people that have wept until they have no more tears to weep and no more strength to weep. Not only did they come back and learn the women and children taking captive by their enemies, but when they came back, the people wanted to stone David. They were holding him responsible, and they were embittered towards him. What did David do? He knew where his confidence was, it was in God himself. The Lord is my shepherd, even though I walked through the valley of the shadow of death. They literally wanted to kill him. It says in First Samuel 30, that David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. He didn't go binge on Netflix, he didn't go eat extra, he didn't go grab a few drinks to numb the pain, he didn't do any of that. What did David do? He strengthened himself in the Lord his God. He's in the valley of the shadow of death, he knows the one that can carry him through, the one who can give him wisdom to walk through that valley is God himself, he strengthened himself in the Lord his God. Do you know what question he did not ask? He did not ask, why. What he did ask is, what? He strengthened himself in the Lord, and then God led him in what to do next. And in that leading in the rest of First Samuel 30, David and his men go out and they recapture and bring back that which had been taken away from them. But he found his wisdom and strength in the Lord.

Ross Sawyers: 20:25 It's a good word for us, to find our wisdom and strength in the Lord. The good shepherd is Jesus, who more than Jesus walked through the valley of the shadow of death, on his path to the cross To bear all the darkness of our sin, and our corruptness, and our evil hearts, and our wicked hearts. There are a number of things where blame can be shifted, at the end of the day for every human being, where the blame lies is in the depths and core of a corrupted human heart. God is the one that can restore that heart. In John chapter 10, verses 17 and 18, it says, “For this reason (Jesus speaking) for this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again." In verse 18, “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” Jesus voluntarily walked through the valley of the shadow of death, to his own death on that cross. And on that cross, he took on all of our sin, all of our shame, all of our corruptness, all of our guilt, everything that's associated, with all of our [inaudible], he took it all on himself. And then his life was raised from that grave, he conquered all of that. In the same way, Jesus takes your sin and mine, we're dead in our sin, and we die with him. And then God raises us with him so that now we walk in the power of the resurrection, and in the lead of the Holy Spirit of God.

Ross Sawyers: 22:32 Jesus himself is the good shepherd. How did he make it through that valley? Well in Hebrews 12, it says that Jesus, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross. He kept his eyes on the goal. Prior to that, he tells us to fix our eyes on him. So how do we walk through the valley of the shadow of death? We fix our eyes on Jesus. In Hebrews 12:3, it says, "For consider him who endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart." How do we walk through the dark valleys? How do we walk through the hard spaces? How do we walk through years of prejudice and racism? How do we walk through those kinds of things? By considering Jesus, who endured such hostility by sinners against himself, and then we won't grow weary. Keep our eyes on Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: 23:32 The second phrase in verse 4 says, "I fear no evil, for You are with me." "Even though I walked through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil." Why do I fear no evil, God? Because you are with me. It's continually coming back to the presence of God, God is with me. I may not know the why, I may not know why something endures for so long, I might not know that. But what I do know, is that God himself is with me. It is Christ in us, in Christ, through us, in Christ with us. And he's always with us, the sheep are never alone, the shepherd is with the sheep. He is walking with them through the valley of the shadow of death. How do we not fear evil? How do I walk in a day where there's so much to be afraid of, and do what the psalmist says, and not fear it?

Ross Sawyers: 24:39 So many of you have small children, and you may have kids that are already grown, and you have to kind of remember back like me. But one of our boys, whenever he was scared of a new environment, something that was going on, he'd just tucked himself right between our legs. It was safe for him to be in our shadow, and in the substance of us. He trusted us as parents, he believed us, he believed we could protect him. He was safe in our presence, just kind of tucked in there between our legs when we'd go somewhere. A child believes their parent is safe for them, and God is ultimately safe. If a parent, or somewhere else is not safe for you, what I want you to know is that God is safe. In Psalm 27 verses 1through 3, it says, "The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident." We're talking about confidence for today, and confidence for the future. Where does the Psalmist have his confidence? His confidence is in God, himself. Whom shall I fear if God is my salvation? Whom shall I dread? He's the defense of my life, I'm leaning into God.

Ross Sawyers: 26:31 In Isaiah chapter 43, verses 2 and 3, the prophet is writing. And he says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. “For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior." When we walk through the valleys, the darkest valleys, he's with us.

Ross Sawyers: 27:06 When we've walked through a particular dark valley, one of the ways that God makes his presence known to other people walking through similar dark valleys, is through you. Many times, things we've walked through, we're able to empathize with others. We don't have to have walk through everything to empathize. Someone sent me a little YouTube video, and the person on there drew a distinction that was interesting between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy, she said, disconnects us from another person. When we're just sympathetic towards someone, it's actually a disconnect. They sense we're not connecting in with them, we're sympathizing, but we're not really connecting, and we're really disconnecting. Empathy actually enables us to connect with someone, empathy is a connector. And when we think about everything that's going on right now, if we ask God to help us have a genuine empathy for one another, that actually connects us. And oftentimes when we're empathetic, we don't have anything to say, we don't know what the right thing is to say. One of the things that I think is not helpful in these days, this is just my view, is the pressure that somehow if you're not saying something, that you're evil. Sometimes when I listen to people, it's better that they didn't say anything. If we're not at a place where we're ready to say something that's substantive and helpful, it's better to be silent. If we're just saying something to post it, to get in on something, I don't know that that's the right motivation. We want to know that we're motivated rightly, out of a love for people, out of an empathy for people. We want to be careful. People know if you've just posted something, or said something, under pressure, or manipulation, or guilt. No, we have to be genuine, people see right through it when we're not. We want to empathize, and sometimes it's just saying, I'm sorry, and I don't even have words for what's happening with you, and stop.

Ross Sawyers: 29:49 We can walk with people through the darkest valleys, it's what First Thessalonians…It's there that Paul says, "We urge you brothers to admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone." We're in long processes, let's be patient with one another, and be a help with each other as we walked through these valleys. And one of my favorite verses in thinking about fear, is Isaiah 41:10, "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Can you see, again and again in the scripture, that our strength comes from the very presence of God himself in his word.

Ross Sawyers: 30:38 And that moves us to the last phrase in Psalm 23. In that last phrase in chapter 23, verse 4 is, "Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." Well, what does that mean, when we think about the shepherd? The shepherd had both a rod and a staff, and here's a picture of the rod and the staff. The rod was relatively short, heavy, it was a club black device, it was a weapon to protect the sheep. The staff was longer and thinner with a hook, or a crook, at one end. So when we're talking about the rod and the staff, this gives you an idea of what the shepherd would carry with them when they were leading their sheep. And the idea of the rod was a weapon of defense, it was to protect the sheep. Remember we talked about, that lurking in the shadows would be the enemies of the sheep and the shepherd, and the shepherd would use that rod as a weapon of defense. It was a symbol of strength and authority for him. And his Phillip Keller wrote about it, it was actually an extension of the right hand of the shepherd, and the sheep knew that it was something to be a protection for them. The shepherd would also use the rod as a way to count and examine the sheep. We find this in Ezekiel chapter 37, and what the shepherd would do is the sheep would come underneath the rod, and he would count as they came under it. And they would also use it to work through the thick wool of the sheep, to see if there are any problems on the skin of the sheep, and that would be the use for the rod.

Ross Sawyers: 32:28 Now one way we might think about the rod of the shepherd, is to think about the word of God. That God has made himself known in his word, it's an extension of right arm when we see the word of God. And the Psalmist in chapter 139 said, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way." The Psalmist could confidently ask God to search him, to search him with his word, to reveal things, anything that's hurtful. And in this season of time, we want to ask God afresh, God search me in your word, reveal to me, is there any sin in me, any racism in me, any prejudice in me, towards people? The other day, I was challenged, you know, I don't know if you'll like this question or not. But a guy looked at me and he said, do you know, and he asked about certain people. We just kind of talked about it as a whole. He said, do you know if there's anybody in your church that hates black people? Now, this is part of the uncomfortable conversation. And you know what, when I thought about it, I don't know that over the years I've ever had anyone come to me and say, Hey I struggle with the sin of racism. Can you help me? I know that's not compatible with my faith in Jesus, and I hate that I have this as a struggle, but can you help me? Can you get me to a right place to work through it? You know, we want to be as a church, we want to be a safe space for whatever issues are, whatever the sin issues are that we can own those in safe spaces with people in our church. And then work through them, allow Jesus to work that out, and instead press in us a love for that which might be a hate. Are we willing to even allow God to search our hearts, to see what's there?

Ross Sawyers: 34:54 In Hebrews 4:12 it says, "The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." That's God's word, it's living, it's active, it searches our hearts. I want to be in God's word, it's similar to the rod of the shepherd, it protects, and it helps discover problems, and it fixes and corrects. The staff is designed to care for the sheep, it's that long slender stick, and they'll use it to lean on, and they might use it to lift a newborn lamb to get back to its mom if they've been separated, it can be used to draw close and intimate. And then the staff is also used to guide, and the shepherd, if the sheep is getting off path, the shepherd will use that staff and use a little bit of pressure to get the sheep back in line. Just a good firm pressure that's all, nothing hurtful, it's actually a comfort to the sheep.

Ross Sawyers: 35:59 It reminded me again, if I could just think about parents, how often when walking along with small kids, they're kind of drifting off, and you reach out there with your hand and you grab their hand, and it's reassuring and comforting. You're guiding them back into the right place, and you just hold the hand of that child. And as you hold the hand of the child, they just know that firm and loving grip. A firm, and loving, and tender grip of a mom or a dad, a grandparent, that's what's happening here. And God has given us the Holy Spirit to be our comfort, to hold our hand, and to lead us. What we're talking about, God's word and the Spirit of God, and they comfort us. I want you to know that there is comfort when we walk through the darkest valleys of life, there is comfort in those spaces.

Ross Sawyers: 37:11 The other day I was watching John Sager. He's been at our church multiple times, led our men a couple of times, three times maybe, at men's retreats. And his son was getting married, and due to all the restrictions so forth, it was a limited number of people at the wedding, and it was on Facebook Live. And it was my first wedding to watch on Facebook Live. And watching the wedding, and it's just beautiful, and his son is marrying a young lady whose father is from Northern India. And in the wedding, they're upfront and exchanging vows, and then they did something in their wedding that I've never seen at a wedding before. All of a sudden Caleb, John's son, is on the ground and he's taking off the shoes of his now new wife, and then he takes some water and a towel, and he washes her feet. Here she is standing her a beautiful white wedding gown, he's in his suit, and he's down there and he's washing her feet, just in an act of humility. Just like Jesus washed the disciple's feet. And then he stands up, and she reaches down and she takes off his shoes and socks, and now here she is in her wedding gown down on her knees, and she's washing the feet of her new husband. Just a beautiful picture of humility in serving each other, and setting the pace for the way their marriage is going to look, and that is to mutually serve one another in humility. A beautiful, beautiful picture of what Jesus has done.

Ross Sawyers: 39:24 Jesus got down and washed the feet of his disciples on the night that he would begin the darkest valley of his life, headed towards the cross, to emerge a few days later on higher ground. And only when we receive Jesus washing our feet, and laying his life down for us, his service towards us, his love that's beyond anything we can imagine. Only when we receive the washing of our feet by Jesus, and the love of Jesus, will we be able to in turn, serve, and love, and wash the feet of others. It's only as we follow the lead of our good shepherd, that we'll be able to serve and love one another, and to help each other walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and to fear no evil because God is with us, and he works through us. And his rod and his staff, his word and the Holy Spirit of God will comfort us when we walk on that right path through the valley of the shadow of death.

Ross Sawyers: 40:55 Let's pray together. Father, thank you for just the power and strength of your word, God. And Father, thank you for bringing us comfort in our darkest valleys, and in our worst days. Thank you for restoring us, and carrying us through the difficulties. And I pray, Father, in this moment that you would carry your people. And Father, I pray that as Christians, that we would shine the brightest, that we would serve with the deepest humility, that we would bend our knees and go low to serve those around us. Will you help us to mutually do that as the body of Christ, and then to serve those who are not a part of the body of Christ. And Father, I pray as they see us love each other and see us love them, that they would know that you're inviting them in as well through the cross, the valley of the shadow of death that you went through so that we might have your presence with us and your comfort to sustain and carry. And God thank you, that one day you'll carry us completely and safely into as Phillip Keller called it, the eternity of delight. And we thank you and pray in Jesus' name.

Ross Sawyers: 42:35 Let's just be still before the Lord, even if you're in your home, wherever you are, I would encourage you just to pause and allow whatever it is God might be saying or doing, allow him that space to do it. And then if you would like, you can text us anything that we can pray for you, any questions you might have, and that'll be on the screen, the information, and so we're appreciative for that opportunity. So let's be still before the Lord. Amen and thank you.

Ross Sawyers: 44:04 As we take off, I just want to remind you that our in-person services have begun. And if you're interested, and ready, for in-person worship, our registration will begin on Monday night. We want to take some space after the weekend, and evaluate the service times and the number of services to make that we're able to gather with those who are interested in being in person. And then we love that we have the online venue to be able to worship as well, and we'll continue to have that, and so we're so grateful that we have both spaces where we can gather up. So whatever is best for you in this season of time, it gives us great options to gather up and to worship God together. Let me encourage you in those registrations. The reason we're doing registration, that might feel a little odd that you're having to register to come to church, but what we don't want is for you to show up and because of the limited seating capacity from the state guidelines, we don't want you to show up and then you wouldn't be able to come in. So this just gives us a way to ensure that there's space for you when you come. So thank you for doing that.

Ross Sawyers: 45:24 And then as I mentioned, if you'll be praying for me, and for our staff, and just multiple people as we prep for July. I'm excited about what God has for us in June, and God willing that we even get to July. But just that we really can biblically and thoughtfully consider what racial reconciliation looks like, what unity looks like, and the kinds of conversations we need to have that are real conversations. So will you just really be praying, and be thoughtful, as we move ahead in what is really challenging ground. So thank you for being willing to do the hard thing. All right, I hope you have a fantastic rest of the day today, and that your eyes are firmly fixed on Jesus. Thank you.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
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