Timely Silence, Timely Words

Exploring The Power Of Silence In A Conversation.

Ross Sawyers
Mar 28, 2021    49m
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When you are speaking to others, do you feel the need to fill the empty space? If so, you may want to learn about the power of silence in a conversation. This message shows us that Jesus was the master of knowing when to speak and when to stay quiet. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Ross Sawyer: 00:07 There are books that I'll return to, again and again, there are favorites for me over the years, that God used to just really impact my understanding of something. And they're just critical junctures where God does that. I suppose he does the same with you with different things as well.

Ross Sawyer: 00:25 In the mid-90s, I was exposed to a man named Henry Nowuen, and this book The Way Of The Heart, is a book that became really instrumental in my thinking about the disciplines of solitude and silence. And Nowuen describes solitude, he describes silence, he describes prayer. He also introduced me to a group of people that I was unfamiliar with until this time, and they're the desert fathers and mothers of the fourth century. At the time Constantine had made Christianity legal, and so for the first time since Christ, the idea of Christianity was the legal religion of the empire. And what that ended up doing was creating a bunch of people who didn't really know Jesus, but claimed a faith because they had to, because the government said they had to. And there were several that were afraid that if they stayed in the cities, that they would end up being manipulated and conformed to the society that was being shaped and formed, and that their hearts would not be shaped by Christ. And they fled to the desert, some for days, some for months, some for years, literally they would spend in the desert alone with God. And we think about solitude as a discipline, I think about it this way, it is that carved out space to spend alone with God. It is the base discipline for all disciplines, if we're not able to do the discipline of solitude, then we're not able to read God's word, we're not able to study God's word, we're not able to memorize God's word, we're not able to meditate, memorize, and hide, God's word. We're not able to pray, if there's not space first set aside to do so. And the desert fathers and mothers modeled the way of what it was to be in the presence of God for extended periods of time, and it's there that they learned how to be silent and still.

Ross Sawyer: 02:39 Now you say, I thought we were supposed to be in the world, I thought we were supposed to be making disciples, I thought we were supposed to be engaging a culture that's far away from God. Interestingly, the desert fathers and mothers had some of the greatest impact on the culture of the day, because people would go them for wisdom and insight, because they had been the ones sitting before God. They impacted their culture greatly by separating out, and then re-engaging. It's the same rhythm that God has invited us into, is that time with him and we settle and we're still and quiet. And we leave that space, and when we leave that space, we engage a world that's hostile towards him, and we're able to encounter it the way Jesus did.

Ross Sawyer: 03:27 And the reason I say this today, is I want us to think about these ideas, when we think about how Jesus himself spent his conversations with those who were accusers of him. How will we, in conversation, respond in truth and love to people who make accusations against us that are untrue accusations. How will we respond today, it's already occurring, we don't have to imagine this, this is what is occurring in our culture. How will we respond when people accuse us, as Christians, of being haters. How will we respond to a culture that accuses us of being bigots? How will we respond to a culture that responds to our Christian morality and says, no, you're dangerous to our society, and we need to eliminate you so that you can't corrupt our culture in the way that we see what is the right morality for the day? How will we respond to that? We learn from Jesus, on the day he went to the cross, how to do so.

Ross Sawyer: 04:45 Now I'd like for us to think about two ideas, just flowing through in how we have conversation, and that is timely silence, and timely words. That our silence is weighty and appropriate for the moment, and that our words are the same. I want to draw from Nowuen's book, for our subheadings of each section, just some things and insights he gives us.

Ross Sawyer: 05:12 But before we do that, I want to show you something that we've been doing over the last several weeks as a resource for you. We've been doing like 2 to 2 1/2 minute long video recaps of each week, simply given the framework of the way Jesus had conversations. We know that we struggle as a whole in our culture with how to have conversations with truth and grace, we're learning from Jesus, how to do so. And so we've just summed them up, so that you could go back again and again, and try and think through, okay, how do I have a conversation like Jesus did. The week that Jordan preached, Jordan did the video. The week Jermaine preached, Jermaine did the video. When Eric preached, he did the video. The weeks I've done it, I've done the videos. I want to give you just one sample of that, so you at least know what we've got sitting out there

Ross Sawyer: 06:07 In John chapter 8, we see a story, an encounter of Jesus, with woman who's caught in adultery and with a group of religious leaders. There's two sins going on here, the self-righteousness of the religious leaders and the immorality of the woman. We see Jesus having two different conversations, and the religious leaders are trying to trap him. And what we learned from him in this, and how to have a conversation with those who try to trap us, is that people try to use others and exploit them, exploit people, and then they take scripture and try to manipulate scripture. And that's exactly what happens in this case, and what we need to be able to discern when that's occurring. And the more time we spend with Jesus, the more we'll discern when people are doing that. Once that comes, then we learn from Jesus to thoughtfully and calmly look for ways for the other person to self-reflect. He didn't jump in with an answer, he allowed them to persist with their questions until finally he gave them something to think about and to reflect on, and then he patiently waited for them to respond. He didn't step in and try to answer for them to let them off the hook, he just allowed them to think and reflect on what he had said, and they came to their own conclusions, their own heart issues.

Ross Sawyer: 07:37 And there's another conversation Jesus had with this woman. And he turned his attention to her, and we learned from him to offer a compassion and a freedom to those who are caught in sin. And Jesus is gracious and compassionate towards her, in the same way we learn from him and to have a compassion toward those who are caught in any kind of sin against him. And in those two dialogues, we learned from Jesus, again, how to have conversations with different kinds of people. [inaudible] I hope this will be helpful, and that you'll practice, and just try to really think through how you can have this kind of dialogue with someone that doesn't know Christ.

Ross Sawyer: 08:35 I wish I would have listened to my own teaching this week. Lisa and I are looking for a storm door for our front door, and we were at Lowe's and I invited the two guys who helped us, they're very knowledgeable about doors and really helpful. And I invited them to Easter, and it was pretty cool because one of the guys said, somebody at your church is my neighbor, and just spoke so highly of them. You just love hearing it when someone speaks well of those who are a part of who we are here. And but then later I was thinking, Oh, my, I was just standing there in the midst of all these doors. I mean, it was just like gift wrapped for me, of how to to share the gospel and just leave a message about Jesus here. And I thought, okay, there's all these doors, I could have said, Jesus said he was the door that leads to life. How cool that you guys work with doors? I mean, I was just kind of, it was kind of running through my head. And I thought it was a storm door, I mean, so it was just like a big window with a frame. Right. And I thought, oh, the Bible is just like that window. If you'll just read your Bible, you'll just see so clearly who God is. And I just thought, I had this conversations with myself, it did no good for anybody, and it was after the fact and I failed. But that's how we learn isn't it, as we reflect on conversations, how we get actually have those kinds of dialogues, create interest with people, in who Jesus is. And my hope is, next time I'll be more prepared, but hope those will be helpful for you.

Ross Sawyer: 10:09 As I said, I want to think about Timely Silence, Timely Words, looking at how Jesus responded to his accusers. He had been up all night long on the Thursday night coming into Friday morning, and then he has three different dialogues, probably more than that. But the main ones are with the Sanhedrin, it's a council, it's kind of a kangaroo court, that put him on a little mock trial. And then he stood before Pilate, the Roman governor, in the middle of that Pilate's a weasel, he's trying to get out of it. And so he sends him off to Herod, to see if somebody else can help him out, and then he makes his way back to Pilate. So I want to look at those three dialogues, and see how Jesus responded both with the right silence and the right kind of words, drawing from Nowuen ideas about silence. This is what he said, as we move into Mark chapter 14, that'll be our first launch point, "But much can be said without much being spoken" "Much can be said without much being spoken." Nowuen talks about, there is a chapter in here, that this is a wordy world that we live in. We have words flying everywhere, and he's arguing that much can be said without much being spoken.

Ross Sawyer: 11:30 And that is a reality of Jesus, when we watch his encounter in Mark 14. At this point he's been arrested, he is being brought before his accusers, it's the Sanhedrin. Some of you in your past, you may understand who the Sanhedrin is, others might not. It was the ruling council for the Jewish people. There were 70 of these guys, Pharisees and Sadducees. And then there was one more, the high priest, who actually led this ruling council. Now how 71 people can make a good decision together, I have no idea. However we do see, they didn't make great decisions, so that might be a case for it. But this is who we're finding Jesus before, and they're trying to find testimony against him and they can't find any.

Ross Sawyer: 12:26 Now, how cool would that be? That if anybody in our culture, anybody in your work space, any neighbor, that if they were looking for a way to bring you down, they couldn't do it because you're a person of integrity, a person of high character, the only way they could bring you down is to make something up. And that's exactly what they're doing with Jesus. There are those who are in the group, and they're kind of yelling out these false testimonies and things about Jesus, and trying to get him to buckle. And then finally, the high priest says to Jesus, "Do you not answer?" You're listening to all of this, you're listening to these accusations, why are you not defending yourself? Why are you not answering the question? In verse 61, "He kept silent and did not answer."

Ross Sawyer: 13:19 Now, this is what we know about Jesus, I think this is a decent summary of him in the way he responded to things. If there was an injustice, if there's somebody that is a perpetrator of injustice, then Jesus spoke out strongly against it. If someone is suffering an injustice, poor, weak, vulnerable, Jesus went to their defense. If someone was attacking him, he did not defend himself. We're the most like Jesus, when we're not defensive,, not defending our self, not defending our own honor, not defending our own character, but when we're speaking out against the perpetrator, and when we're speaking out against the one who the injustice is being done, And then Jesus spoke out strongly against those who would do anything to inhibit the faith of someone, children included. He said, "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble." I would fear today, if I were one of the adults leading the charge to the harm that is being done to our children across the country, I would fear that day before God.

Ross Sawyer: 15:15 But Jesus did not defend himself. Don't you answer, why are you not answering the question? Jesus was timely in his silence, "He kept silent. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”, in verse 61. They persisted when they're in the story in John chapter 8, they had to keep coming at him. Jesus was not on someone else's time schedule. He kept silent, and he answered when he was ready. In verse 62, Jesus said, it's a packed, timely answer. "He said, “I am; and you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.” They are clear words, powerful words. He's quoting from Daniel chapter 7 verses 13 and 14, and Psalm 110 verse 1. He's saying,. and they know it when he says it, he is claiming to be the Messiah from the scriptures, he's essentially saying that he is God. And at this point, the high priest tears off his clothes, and he tears his clothes, and he starts yelling, blasphemy, this is an insult to God, what Jesus is saying. His words were, he was silent, and then when he spoke, it was packed with power. Timely silence, timely words, he had something to say, when he actually spoke.

Ross Sawyer: 16:41 A transition happens here. The problem for the Jewish leaders at this point, is they didn't have the authority to execute Jesus, and they wanted him dead. They needed the Roman authorities to be able to finish off what they were starting at this point. So we moved to John chapter 18, and I'm going to summarize 28 to 32, and then we'll pick up in verse 33. But when we think about Nouwen and what he has to say, this is what I would say our idea here is, that a word not rooted in silence is a weak, powerless word. A word not rooted in silence, is a weak and powerless word. Words that are rooted in silence, those are the words that bring strength into a conversation. Jesus brings strength to what he says.

Ross Sawyer: 17:43 Now we have this little back and forth going between Pilate and the Jewish leaders, they didn't care for each other, there was no love lost between them. They were just maneuvering to get something done, that was what they were kind of doing here. And as this little power struggles going on between Pilate and the Jewish leaders, Jesus is standing there. And I love what somebody said in thinking about this, okay, so you've got this little power struggle going on, this little battle going on between these people, and Jesus is standing there silent, and he's actually the one with the power. Now, don't interpret him just standing there as weakness, Jesus is gentle, and gentleness means strength under control. He was absolutely under control, and he knew exactly what was going on. So, here's this little power struggle going on, just like we have our little power struggles that go on all the time. And it's like we forget that Jesus is standing there, and he's actually the one with the power to do something.

Ross Sawyer: 18:53 We pick up in verse 33, it says, "Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And at this point, Jesus will choose to answer. He said, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?” I think that's an interesting question, and if we can take anything away from Jesus, one, he asked really good questions. And that oftentimes his response, he wanted to understand if you really knew why you were asking what you were asking. The apologetics teachers we've had over the years, I think one of the best questions they've given us to work with is, when we're dealing with issues in our culture, to ask the person that we're visiting with, or talking to, how did you come to that conclusion? What is your basis for what you're saying? And then we actually begin to understand, have they thought through what they're saying? That's what Jesus is doing.

Ross Sawyer: 19:59 It's sort of, to me, is a little bit insulting. It's kind of like, did you come up with this question on your own, or did you just listen to everybody else, and so you came up with the question? And I'm kind of embarrassed when I read things like this, because I read headlines of stuff, and I'm dangerous because I don't read the rest of the story. And then I talk about it, like I know what I'm talking about. I'm just repeating the news cycle that someone else said I was supposed to say. That that's what he's saying. Have you actually put any thought into this, or is this just something that someone else is bringing to you? So, "Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests..." So, no, I haven't really thought about this. "Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?” A logical question, you know, we're here, so what is it that you did? And Jesus answered him, it's timely, it's concise. He says, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”.

Ross Sawyer: 21:14 He answers his question, what have you done, by describing his kingdom? And he just says to him, look, if I was interested in what you've got right now, it'd be game on. We'd have the swords out, there'd be a fight happening right now, we'd be moving towards an overthrow, that's what we would be doing. But my kingdom is not of this world, your pettily little government is not really my concern right now. It's not your kingdom I'm worried about, my kingdom is not of this world. We know from the outset, when Jesus entered as an adult, he said, the way you enter into my kingdom is to repent and believe, my kingdom is a kingdom of the heart. The problem is the human heart, and Jesus Christ occupies the human heart, and that's where he sets up his kingdom. My kingdom, it's not of this world, we're not going to fight you over it, this isn't what it's about. "My kingdom is not of this realm.” Then Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”.

Ross Sawyer: 22:45 I think Jesus really nails what's going on in our culture today, right here. And if anything, we have a major identity crisis going on, people don't know who they are. And I think I've read this before, maybe I'm off, I think I'm in the hunt. We're one of the first cultures in human history that is trying to find our primary identity from within ourselves, rather than it coming from outside of ourselves. What do I mean by that? Well, Jesus is really making an identity statement here. He knows why he was born. He knows why he's here. Earlier in John 14, He knows where he's going. You can be really confident when you know where you came from, when you know who you are today, and when you know where you're headed. You can stand really firm, and you can stand really strong, and you can be really confident, and you can walk in humility, and offer love and grace and truth, when you know from which you've come. And you know who you are, and you know what your purpose is, and you know where your morality derives from, and you know where you're headed when this all wraps up. It makes for a whole different way to do life, it's a place of strength. Jesus is coming from a place of strength because he knows who he is.

Ross Sawyer: 24:23 I would ask you that question. Do you know who you are? Do you understand how God sees you? If you looked through that storm door window of God's word, to see who he is, who you are. He formed me in my mother's womb, I know that. He predestined me, according to Ephesians 1, to be his child before all eternity. I was already in his thoughts, he's numbered my days. I don't know the end of them, I just know I've been given these so far. He's given me a purpose in life, to love him, and to glorify him. He's defined my morality, I don't have to look around and wonder what the culture tells me today is my morality. And I know where I'm going when I'm done. Do you? Has the kingdom of God broken into your heart, genuinely? This isn't a church attendance question, it's not a do I serve at my church question, it's nothing like that. It's a heart question between you and Jesus, Where does your identity lie? When we're confident in who we are, we actually have the hope and the privilege then of bringing hope to people who are in identity chaos right now.

Ross Sawyer: 26:09 Pilate listens to him, he said, okay, what have you done? And he describes his kingdom. And he said, okay, so you're a King? Yes, you say I'm a King, it's right. And then, "Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” You said everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. Good question, by the way, to know if we know Jesus or not, do we hear the truth? And Jesus described himself as the way, the truth, and the life. He's the truth, are we hearing from him in his word? Are we responding to truth? Jesus said, you'll know it, the ones who are of me, they hear truth. Not a made up truth, the objective truth, God. If you know the truth, the truth will set you free, he says. And Pilate asks, he's intrigued for just a moment "What is truth?" But you know what, he doesn't stay there to hear an answer. That to me is one of the biggest bummers in our culture, how many people that are wondering what is the truth? But they won't stick around long enough to hear it. Or we start talking, and their mind's already running, they can't hear it.

Ross Sawyer: 27:29 My prayer this week, is that people will hear the truth. That hearts will be stirred and ignited for Jesus Christ himself. That those who've been stagnant or stale, those who are stuck in unbelief, those who are without a church at the moment, those who have been, I heard somebody describe the other day, I've haven't heard this term before, church hurt. Just had a hurt at the church, and just hadn't made their way back. By the way, I know what happens on the hurts, I just haven't heard someone say church hurt. And we have the opportunity this week to invite people to come, they might come on Easter. Some people will still do it twice a year, they'll come Christmas and Easter. And sometimes they're willing to honor their mother and come a third time. But this week we have the truth, and we have a gazillion options, this will be the Easter of all Easters of options. There's a Saturday night, couple of options, there's a sunrise services at 6:45 AM. Why 6:45, because the sun rises at 7:12, and we're going to watch it rise. And then 8 o'clock, we're going to have a contemplative service, and 9:15 and 11:00, we're coming right back here, at 5 o'clock, our Spanish service is going to happen, and then there's multiple online options. There is just options galore. I've loved COVID in this sense, we've tried things we would not normally have tried, and God has done things that only he can get credit for because we would never have done them the way we're doing them. Who knows what God will do this coming week. Now I hate COVID for a lot of other reasons, but I love it, for the way God's worked and done things for his glory and his honor.

Ross Sawyer: 29:34 God does things his way, Psalm 115:3, that's what he says. So when we think about truth, that's what's happening there. And if you want to get truth again in John 14:6, call Jermaine, our youth pastor, and let's blow up his phone this week and just listen to his voicemail. He's had John 14:6 on there for years, and I love that he's unswerving, uncompromising. And then I would say this to people, that when you hear the statement, that "Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through him." There's not other options, he is the option, he is the way, he is truth. I also want you to know, it's really safe for you to raise the question if you don't believe that. If we can't have those conversations in our life groups, then we're in trouble. We should be able to have conversations in truth and love around difficult issues, around things we don't understand, around things that are hard for us. And if you can't wrestle with that question within the church, I don't know where you wrestle with it in a real way. I just want you to know it's safe place to ask your questions. A lot of grace and mercy, as we figure all this out.

Ross Sawyer: 30:49 Well, it was their custom at the Passover to release someone, and Barabbas was the one that was about to be offered up. A Pilate has figured out at this point, this is just a charade for him. Jesus is not a political threat, like the Jews were making him out to be, and he's just trying to make himself out to look somewhat good I guess. And when we think about Pilate, and kind of the way he rolls, he's like a case study for fear of man. I didn't even know that was a thing until a few years ago, and then I realized that's the thing that identifies the sin that I probably struggle with as one of the most. Fear of man is allowing other people to have control over you, and Pilate is a case study, he was vacillating, he's morally weak, he's just kind of blowing with the wind, he's allowing other people to control him. Now, all he's trying to do is get out of this, he doesn't see Jesus as being guilty, but he also wants to Curry a little bit of favor with the Jewish leaders. So we're going to rough Jesus up a little bit, scourge him, mock him, make fun of him, and then declare, "I find no guilt." I mean, who does that? Who says there's no guilt in this man, and then does all these things to him.

Ross Sawyer: 32:11 And then in verse 7, "The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.” Now, Pilate, hadn't heard this part yet, so in verse 8, "When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid." There's nothing better than fearful leaders, "And he entered into the Praetorium again and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” Earlier in Jesus' life, he said, "There's no point throwing your pearls to swine." I think this is a moment like that for him. You've asked me what I did, I told you about the kingdom. You asked me if I was a King. I said, you're right. I told you those who are of me, are the ones who hear truth, you walked off. Now you've beaten me, mocked me, dressed me up like a king, and you want to know another question? No. A timely silence.

Ross Sawyer: 33:27 Verse 10, "So Pilate said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?” This is a good message for any government leader today, any country, any nation, any state, any locality, any authority that anyone has today in government positions, any power that anyone has, it is God given. And God is accomplishing his purposes in things that make no sense to us, and in things that make sense to us. But Pilate has no authority apart from Jesus giving him that authority, "He said, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” He does respond now, you don't have the authority you quite think you have. That's no different today, our confidence today is in a sovereign God who is overall. And my prayer for government leaders all over the world is what happened to Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel chapter 4, when in pride, he walked across his balcony and says, look what I did. And God said, that's just fine, you can spend seven years out in a field and you can see if you survive there. And verse 34 says, that his eyes went up to heaven, and his reason returned to him. Reason will return to our country when the eyes of people turn up towards God, the one who gives authority and the one who is overall. Timely silence, timely words.

Ross Sawyer: 35:46 In the middle of all this, Pilate tries to worm his way out of it by sending Jesus to Herod. In Luke chapter 23, we see that dialogue take place. And this is what Nouwen has to say, he says, "Silence is solitude practice in action." How does Jesus practice his silence? It's because he spent solitude alone with his Father. And then verse 7, "When he learned that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who himself also was in Jerusalem at that time." This Herod, by the way, is the Herod, Herod the Great, was the one who was in power when Jesus was born. We don't talk about this story much at Christmas time, it doesn't really vibe with the decorations and so forth. But Herod slaughtered every male child under two years old in the Bethlehem region, he took out anybody that was a political threat. And this Herod that we're speaking of, is that Herod's son. He wasn't as powerful as his father, he didn't rule as cruelly as his father, although he is the one that killed and had John the Baptist beheaded. But this is the Herod, he doesn't have as much jurisdiction, even as Pilate.

Ross Sawyer: 37:04 "Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him." Sometimes people are just looking for a circus act from Jesus, they just wanted to see him perform for them. And that's what Herod was like, he just wanted to see Jesus perform. Jesus wasn't going with the charade to be his spectacle, so in verse 9, "He questioned him at some length; But Jesus answered him nothing." He answered him nothing. Timely silence, timely words. The chief priests and scribes, they accused him some more. Herod has him treated with contempt, mocks him, does the same thing. These guys are gutless leaders, they can't find anything on Jesus and yet they still keep doing things to him.

Ross Sawyer: 37:59 Now, how do we learn from Jesus to be able to have timely silence and timely words? How do we respond when people bring those false accusations against us? How can we grow in being strengthened, and answer as he does? How can we avoid self-justifying and defending ourselves when those accusations come? I think there are two thoughts here.

Ross Sawyer: 38:36 One, and I take this from a personal experience a few years ago. I was talking to somebody that's in a cult, and I got really frustrated trying to talk with them. And later I thought that was ridiculous, my stomach was churning, I was getting mad cause I couldn't figure out how to respond to him. And that's what we do, right? It's when we don't know how to respond, we get all irritated about it, try to talk louder and say the same thing and it doesn't work, and then it's more irritating. And I said, okay, God, this is terrible because if I ever faced any real persecution, how am I going to respond? I'm going to fall apart in the moment. And I just asked him, my wife has been so good that when I say things, she'll say, well, have you asked God for that? So I did, and I started asking the Lord, I said, will you give me the strength to respond like you do when there's accusations, or I'm in conversations like that. And I will say over the last few years, I just sense a calm inside myself. Sometimes it gets a little bit adrift, but mostly a calm in responding. And only God can do that, because I'm not wired that way. I'm way more defensive, and I just, I really need God to do that work in me. And I have those fear of man issues, so I have all kinds of junk going on. But that's one way, and I think that happens and that muscle is built as we continue to stand firm in our faith. The more conversations we have, the more God will build that muscle in us.

Ross Sawyer: 40:21 Now this week I read, it might've happened a couple weeks ago, but one of the leading Christian adoption and foster care agencies has recently loosened their stance and their position on Christian marriage, and you can do nothing but surmise it's in part to continue to get government money. Somebody wrote about them and said, this is just the beginning, and that is correct. If we're going to follow Jesus, and hold true to the teachings of Jesus in the scripture what is truth, it is going to cost more and more. Now your option will be to buckle, like we're watching churches and agencies, one at a time cave. That is an option, that you won't pay a price for that, you will pay a price if you remain true to who Christ is and what it is that he taught. I don't know what that looks like for each of us, but we really are going to have to decide, is Jesus who he said he is and is he worth it? And every one of us will be making those decisions in our workspaces, in our neighborhoods, and in our own families. Jesus shows us the way, and how to do that with truth and with love.

Ross Sawyer: 42:13 The second thing I would say that helps us learn and grow like Jesus in this, is a statement Nouwen makes, that "Solitude is the furnace of transformation." So let's just say I'm standing firm, I haven't buckled, I really haven't found myself in a situation where it's going to cost me anything. How do I grow where I can be silent, and I can be timely in my words? Well, it's in the place of solitude, alone with Jesus, it's lengthy times there, and it's there where we learn to be silent, it's there where our words get rooted. So that when it's time, we have a powerful word to say.

Ross Sawyer: 42:55 Several years ago, my older son, a senior in high school, about to head off to Texas A and M, and he started dating a girl his senior year. Now, I'll just speak for me, in my mind I'm thinking, why did we have to do this? But we hung in there, and early in the summer, before he was to go off to school, he left, it was a Tuesday night, I don't know that I'll ever forget it. And he went off on a date with her, he was back within an hour, she lives in Keller and we live in Hearst. I thought, how did you get back so fast? And he said, we just broke up. There wasn't anything wrong, there wasn't anything we were aware of that was wrong that would have him close to breaking up. And this is classic, my son, he said, well, we were in the truck and she didn't have anything to say, and I didn't have anything to say, so I guess it's over. Okay, we'll take it. Maybe God was answering our prayers in a really odd way, I don't know. But you know, that's what we do with God. We're sitting with him in our truck and we don't really hear him, and we don't have much to say, and so we just move on.

Ross Sawyer: 44:40 The only way to be like Jesus is to stay, and to stay in that space with him, whether you're hearing anything or not, and it's okay if it's a little uncomfortable. Jesus said, if you know the truth, then you'll hear me. It's worth asking the question, why am I not hearing anything. We cannot be scared of the discomfort of silence, stay a little bit longer, you never know how God might show up, and it's in that space that we learn that much can be said without much being spoken, it's in that space that our words are no longer weak and powerless, and it's in that space that our souls are transformed. It's a good space to be in. Jesus knew when to be silent, he knew when to speak. He did not go silent on us on that old rugged cross, let's not go silent on him as we walk through our days.

Ross Sawyer: 46:11 Father, thank you for the power of your word, and I pray, God, this morning that we will have found strength here, encouragement. We have the greatest hope and the greatest peace of all, and Father, I pray we'd walk in it, that we'd walk in the power of your Spirit. Father, I pray that we would walk in the grace, and love, and truth of Jesus, that we would know with confidence, who we are, where we've come from, where we're going, what our purpose is today. That we'd glorify you today, we'd love you today, love our neighbor today. Show us how to do that, just help us please. I pray, Father, where our hearts need to be convicted today, and where we need to repent, will you help us not be afraid of that? Just bring it to you. Father, where you want to affirm and encourage our hearts today, will you do that, will you strengthen and encourage us today in you. Will you give us a boldness this week to be like Jesus, and allow you to live through our lives, and that we'd be aware of what you're doing around us, and sensitive, and not miss a moment to invite or share or talk. When people accuse, that we would be quiet, still, and offer words at the right time, that are helpful, powerful and strong. So we thank you today, and Jesus, we're grateful that things did not end on this Friday, but just like you were raised from the dead on that third day, thank you for taking our dead hearts and raising them to life. Will you please do more? And I pray in Jesus' name.

Ross Sawyer: 47:59 Let's be quiet before the Lord. What I've described today, is why we do this at the end of our services, just to have some space to sit before the Lord. Let's do so, and see if he has anything to say to us.



Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051
817.488.1213