series graphic image

February 12, 2023

Foundations Week 6: No Regrets

One quick thing that I want to say before I get into my message. You might want to go look Asbury, which is a Methodist school. They started off this last Wednesday with a prayer meeting, and it has not stopped since. There are people coming from everywhere. People are getting saved. I'm telling you — mark my word. I've been saying it for 12 years. I'm telling you, there is going to be, at some point — maybe it's not in my lifetime, though I surely hope that it is, but I believe that God is going to blow through this country in another way that we've never seen before. I really do believe that. I may be wrong. I get people, all the time, who say to me, “You’re crazy. It’s all going downhill from here.”

Do you know what? You may be right, but I'm going to tell you what. I'd rather be the optimist believing God's getting ready to do something than the pessimist thinking everything's going to — you know where it's at.

Anyway, that being said, I think all of us can relate to this. At least I hope you can. You probably have been — I know I have. I know I've done this. You might not have done this, but I know that I've been somewhere before — and I'll use an illustration here — maybe a wedding, maybe an office party, maybe a get-together, or something that was going on where you showed up — have you ever done this? I've done this. You showed up, and you realized that, somewhere along the way, you did not get the memo for how you were supposed to be dressed. Have you ever done that one? I mean, some of you all just like to show up wherever you go dressed opposite anyway, and that's a whole other psychological issue for a counseling session. Okay? But most of us, if we go to a wedding, it's a black tie event, and we show up in a pair of shorts, we're like, “Ugh, I thought it was the beach wedding. Wrong one.”

All of us have had that moment in our lives where we just weren't dressed in the way that we should have been. Now, I say all of that because I want to use that as an illustration. I want to make sure that you hear me here. I'm in no way trying to be snarky. I'm in no way trying to give anybody a hard time. I just want you to hear my heart. I am under the impression that most Christians, especially in America — I'll include myself from time to time, as well. I think many of us show up, daily, with the wrong attire, from a biblical standpoint.

You may say, “What do you mean by that, Chip?”

What I mean by that is Paul talks about you and me putting on the armor of God. I'm wondering if we really take that to heart, often, in our lives. I think we live in a world where everything is sort of naturalistic. If you can't touch it, if you can't see it, if you can't taste it, if you can't feel it, then it's not real. I can tell you, as your pastor, that there's more going on in the world than just the things that we see. There's other stuff. I think that, for many of us, what happened is we've been so enculturated by the world that we just sort of think we live in the world, and this is all that there is. We don't even think about, “Could there be something else going on, spiritually?”

Not only that, but we've also seen excess. I'm not for the excess, and I'm not for the weird. There are people who are just way over this spiritual stuff, and it's sort off-putting. I get that. But I think that if most of us were honest, we sort of get up every day, and we probably are not paying attention to how we're dressing ourselves, spiritually, for the day that’s ahead of us.

We’re in a series called Foundations, and one of the foundational elements of being a Christian is to realize that there's more going on than we see. There’s a quote that was written 300-400 years ago. I don't think anybody in here who's a believer would agree with the premise that this doesn't exist, but I'm convinced the more I live life, the more that we might be living this way, practically. Even though we may be thinking in our minds that this might be true, I’m wondering if, sometimes, we live practically as if it's not. I want you to hear this quote because this is a powerful quote. It’s a quote that should get our attention.

“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn't exist.”

I want to make sure that you hear this. I don't want anybody to run out of here fearful, and I'm not trying to create issues.

“Oh, Chip thinks there's a spiritual being behind every chair.”

That’s not what I'm doing here. What I am saying, though, is that I am convinced, if we read scripture, that there's no way we can walk away and not realize that there are evil and malignant forces that are at work. I wonder — and I'm just being honest. I want us to talk about this. I want you to go home and talk about this. I want you to pray about this. Is it possible that we've just sort of bought into a naturalistic world, and we've forgotten that there might be supernatural things going on? So, I want to talk about that this weekend. I come with a pretty passionate heart to talk about this because I don't feel like this is something that gets talked about enough. And when it does get talked about, it's usually talked about in a weird way. Anybody who's been here long enough knows that I don't do weird, so if you're new here, and you think, “Oh, man. He's getting ready to go weird,” I don't do weird.

So, just go ahead, sit back and tell your friend that you came with for the first time, “Yeah, this isn’t going to be weird. The guy seems like he's pretty cool. He isn’t going to do weird.”

So, we're not going to do weird. What I do want to do is I want to go to a passage of scripture that Paul writes to a church that is located in Ephesus. If you could go back into the first century with me, to the church at Ephesus, this was a church that was really into magic. It was into incantations. It was into trying to name deities so that it could control the deity. A lot of spirituality. A lot of supernatural stuff that they believed was going on. I want to look at a passage. It doesn’t have a ton, but it has some words that Paul wrote. I want us to interact with him. I want us to think, “How does this intersect with my life? Is this maybe an area in my life that I could grow in? Is this maybe an area that I could entertain? Is it maybe an area that I could ask the Lord to work with me on?”

Not in a weird way, but in a way that maybe really helps us to see that there might be more going on, and we might just, every day, be getting up and not really dressing for the occasion. So, here's what Paul says.

He says, “For we do not wrestle…”

He's not talking about a physical wrestling match. He's using words and phrases to try to get us to think as we read.

He says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood,”

Which, for you and me, we would think, “Well, exactly. It’s my boss at work. It's my spouse. It’s my kid. It’s the neighbor. It’s this person, the ex. This is the person that just binds me up, gets me going, and I just can't stand them. I know that I'm supposed to be a Christian, I know I'm supposed to be forgiving, and I know I'm supposed to be loving, but I just can't stand.”

Paul says, “Hold on. You’re not really wrestling against flesh and blood,”

“…but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

Now, I realize there are people who sell books, and there are people that teach as if they map all this stuff out and whatever. I mean, I can't say that I'm completely right, but I feel like I'm right. I don't think that the scripture gives us some detailed map of how all the spiritual stuff works. I just think it tells us it's there, and to be aware of it. Don’t think that it's not there. Paul says, “Hey, I know that maybe you think what's going on in the world is people and everything else, but I want you to know that there's stuff behind what's going on.”

He says, “It’s rulers and authorities and cosmic powers and spiritual forces of evil. There's a whole system out there that's really at work to keep you and I from being all that God wants us to be. To keep people from knowing the Lord, to blind the eyes of people from hearing the Gospel.”

And because he says this, he then uses a word that's so important because it links everything. He says, “Therefore — I mean, I just told you there's a lot more stuff going on than maybe you think about on a regular basis. I’m trying to give you the heebie-jeebies, and I’m not trying to be weird, it’s just that there is other stuff out there.

He says, “Therefore…”

Which means he's linking what he just said to what he's getting ready to say.

“Because of that, because there is a reality, because there are things, spiritual forces, and wicked things out there that maybe you don't see, I don't see, we don't really pay attention to, or we don't dress daily for the assault that may come our way, I want you to know that because all this is going on, I want to make sure that you understand something.”

He says three things.

“First of all, I want you to take up the whole armor of God.”

Now, let me be honest here. When you go to the Bible bookstore, the Christian bookstore, and you buy a Bible, it doesn't also come with a literal armor that you put on. Okay? I want to make sure that you know that. I mean, there are kids things that kids dress up in, and they have all the armor of God, but this is not literal. This is something he's trying to get us to see in a spiritual way. He says, “I want you to take up the whole armor of God.”

He's going to talk to us about that, and we're going to find out that the majority of it is defensive to protect you and me, and many of it is virtues. He says, “Because there's stuff, I want you to take up the whole armor of God. Not only that, but, secondly, so that — this is why I want you to take up the armor of God — you may be able to withstand in the evil day.”

Now, to Paul, the evil day would be every day from the time that Jesus has resurrected until the time that He comes back. We live in the last days. The book of Hebrews says that we're in the last days. The last days are the period from when Jesus rose to when He comes back. It's a period of time. In the last days, there are all kinds of things that will be going on, and one of those things will be that evil will be present. Paul is saying, “Listen, I want you to be so equipped so that you're able to withstand in the evil day. In other words, every single day that you live, I want you to be able to withstand the onslaught that may come your way, that may not even be thinking about, that you may not even be aware of. You may just think it's your neighbor, but it may be more insidious. There may be something more. I want you to take up the whole armor of God, for a reason, too, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day. Third, having done all, to stand firm.

“In other words,” Paul says, “I want you to be able to live this thing out.”

For Paul, that’s a big deal. It's not just that we understand that we have been saved. It's not just that we understand that Jesus paid the price for you and me, and that we can know that we are His. He also wants the Church to live it out. He wants us to live it out because we are the witness of Jesus in the local communities. Paul realizes that when the Church doesn't look like Jesus, it's not a good thing for the community. We’re supposed to be lights. We’re supposed to reflect God. He says, “I want you to realize — because there's this stuff, I want you to take up the whole armor of God because I want you to be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, I want you to be able to stand firm. I want you to be able to walk this thing out,” is what Paul would say. He would say, “You’ve come to know Jesus. Great. Let's get you moving to where you start to grow into where you get mature so that you're not flopping all over the place.”

As your pastor, there's no greater calling in my life than two things. One is to preach the Gospel every single weekend, and tell people, “Hey, Jesus died on the cross for your sins and rose again on the third day so that you could have eternal life.”

I want to always make sure that the Gospel is proclaimed when I speak. But as your pastor, one of the things that I take the most serious is how do I help people grow from where they are to where they need to be? How do we develop Christians who are able to live this thing out, who are able to go through the difficulties of life and make it through? Because it's tough. So, here's what he says. He says, “Because there's this stuff, I want you to take up the armor of God, I want you to be able to truly withstand in the evil day so that you can stand.”

He says, “Stand therefore,”

And then he gives us a catalog.

He says, “…having fastened on the belt of truth,”

This is what he starts with. He starts with truth, which is interesting because, in today's world, let's be honest, everybody thinks that truth is malleable. People go, “Hey, you really can't know what's true.”

I always say, “Really? Well then, how do you know that what you just said is true?”

They're like, “Oh, yeah. That’s a good point. Hold on. Truth can't be known.”

“Well, yeah, if it can't, then how do you know that what you just said is true?”

“Yeah, you're right.”

See, this is the problem. We want to create our own truth. I don't want to push anybody away. I don't want to come across as snarky. I don't want to come across in any other way, but I want you to hear my heart. Folks, God knows what's true, and we are to follow His truth. We don't get to create whatever we want. We don't get to reinterpret the Bible because we don't like what He said. The very first thing Paul says is that you need to get the belt wrapped around you, and now you need to get the truth going in your life. Do you know what the Greek word “truth” means? It literally means “that which cannot be forgotten.” It's “alítheia.” The “a” before something is an alpha privative. Like “atypical” means that it's not typical. “Lethe” was the Greek river of forgetfulness. “Alítheia” is that which cannot be forgotten. He says, “Put the truth on.”

We live in a day and age where people are building sandcastles rather than building on the rock of God's truth. We’ve got to decide if we're going to live this thing out, if you're going to wake up every morning and put on the attire, then you’ve got to go, “You know what? I’ve got to know what's true.”

Second, he says, “…and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,”

We all sort of know what a breastplate would look like. It’s to protect you from things that are hitting you or whatever. But what he's saying is that we need to put on a breastplate of righteousness. Now, certainly, that means the righteousness that we're given in Christ, when we accept Him, we're righteous. We didn't do it on our own. We didn't earn it. But in this context, the breastplate of righteousness is actually living out the truth. See, when you don't live a righteous life, guess what? You’ve got all kinds of problems that happen. Have you ever noticed that if you don't do it God's way, it usually doesn't work out as well? Some of you all may not know that. I hope that you don't give me the testimony of how you were like, “You know, Pastor Chip, when you told me if you don't do it God's way, it doesn't work out right, I didn't really believe that. But now I'm a believer.”

I don't want you to tell me you're a believer in that. I want you to just trust me. Doing it God's way is better. But he says, “I want you to put on the breastplate of righteousness. I want you to live this thing out based on the truth that you've girded on, put the belt on, and the breastplate of righteousness.”

He says, “…and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.”

Isn't this interesting? We're talking about a wrestling match. We're talking about a war. We're talking about spiritual forces. What do we bring to the wrestling match? What do we bring to the fight? Peace. That's what we bring. The gospel of peace. The gospel that brings people back together. I'm going to tell you something right now. If you don't put on the gospel of peace on your shoes every day, and you're not willing to tell people about Jesus, you’re really robbing yourself of incredible things. I'm telling you, when you lead someone to Jesus, you have no idea the joy that you will have in your heart. And do you know what's sad? It's sad. Only 2% of the church in America actually shares their faith. That's just sad. That bothers me. I mean, it just does. So, this is why these things are important. Paul says, “Hey, don't show up without being dressed right.”

He says, “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.”

And you know how this works. I mean, when people were shooting arrows in wars, they would put those shields up, and the shields would protect them from those arrows. The shield of faith to believe God. What we do is, so often — and let's be honest. We don't really live in faith. We want to live in certainty. We want to make sure that we control it. We surely don't want to step out of our comfort zone and believe that God could do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ever ask or think. But we're called to be people that live by faith. This shield of faith is huge because the enemy's going to just throw stuff your way, and my way, and if we are trying to interpret it through a natural sense, we're going to be miss some things. We want to be people who live in faith, who believe that God can actually do something.

Listen, God created the world. He spoke the world into existence. He was able to separate the sea from the dry land. He was able to raise people who were dead back to life. Let me tell you something. Maybe you don't know this, maybe you don't think about this, or maybe this is something that's foreign to you. Let me tell you something. Our God can still do the miraculous. He can do things that will blow you and me away. He still can do those things. We’re to be people who put that shield of faith on and believe that God can do these great things.

“And take the helmet of salvation,”

You’ve got to put that around your head. Everything’s in our mind, and this helmet guards our salvation that we’re constantly worried about. I will also say this, though. I think most Christians wear the helmet of salvation, and nothing else. They didn't put on everything else. They didn't put on the shield of faith, the belt the truth, and the breastplate of righteousness. They’re just walking around, saying, “I'm saved, I'm saved, I'm saved. I'm good, I'm good, I'm good. I’ve got it all.”

Then they're getting beat up left and right. But Paul says, “Put on the helmet of salvation so that you can protect your mind from the lies of the enemy who says you're no good or God doesn't love you. Put that helmet on.”

“…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,”

This is the only offensive part of the armor of God. Do you want to know how you take offensive action? It’s not with weapons, it's with God's Word. Do you want to know why I'm committed, every single weekend, to coming in here and teaching you God's Word? It’s because when the enemy comes in — go read it in Matthew 4 and Luke 4. When the devil tempts Jesus, do you know what Jesus does? He quotes the Word of God. If we don't know the Word of God, we don't have the offensive weapon that we need when the evil day comes. That's why I'm committed to teaching the Word of God so that you know, that you know that you know, “I know that no weapon formed against me will prosper. I know that He who began a good work in me will continue to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. I know that God's working all things together for good, for those of us who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

You know the Word of God, so when things come your way, you're able to recall those words that give you strength and victory in those difficult days. Right?

So, he sums it up with, “…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”

In other words, that's daily. This is who we should be. Suited up, ready to go every single day. So, let me give you a couple takeaway, and just listen to my heart here. Hear what I'm trying to say to you. First of all, embrace the truth that there is an enemy who wants to destroy you, wants to destroy me, and wants to destroy families and churches. That doesn't mean you need to run out of here and be fearful. That doesn’t mean you need to go to the store, tonight, and try to buy a crucifix so that you can walk around your house doing all of this. That’s not what I'm trying to get you to do. I'm not trying to scare anybody. I'm trying to give you truth. I'm trying to get you to realize that there really is an enemy out there who genuinely wants to destroy you, wants to destroy your family, wants to destroy churches. That’s what he does. That's why Paul says, “Hey, listen. Rulers, authorities, powers, spiritual forces, it’s real.”

Peter, who walked with Jesus, says it a little bit differently, but here's what he says. He says, “Be sober-minded and watchful. Pay attention.”

If anybody could tell you that you need to pay attention, and mean it, it would be Peter who fell asleep. He's like, “Hey, I'm telling you that you need to pay attention, and you need to watch because you have an adversary of the devil who prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Now, that doesn't mean you need to walk out of here and be all freaked out. Let me tell you something. If you're a Christian, God has already won. It’s not like the devil's going to be able to take your soul or anything like that. So, don't worry about those crazy movies that Hollywood puts out. Stay biblical here. I just want you to know, though, that he's after us to try to keep us from becoming all that God wants us to be. Let me show you how he works. He works through doubt. He wants you to doubt everything.

“Oh, I don't know. I don't know if God's real. I mean, could God really do that? Did He really raise from the dead?”

If he can get you and I living in doubt as believers, he's like, “Yes,” because you and I are going to be ineffective. Not only that, but he wants you to hate the Church, and he's done such a good job over the last two or three years, in this country, getting people to hate the church. Let me take a moment here. Listen to me. There's nobody in here who’s perfect. So, if you're here today, right now, or you’re watching online, and you're like, “I'm looking for that church that does it perfectly, and everything else,” let me tell you what Billy Graham said. It’s the truth. He said, “If you ever find a perfect church, when you join it, it will no longer be perfect.”

The devil wants you to think, “All they care about is business, and all they care about is this, and all they care about is that. The church people are hypocrites.”

One hundred percent. One hundred percent. Jesus didn't come to call all of us that knew how to walk on water and have it perfectly. He came to call the ones that are in need, and I'm in need. I am not perfect, you're not perfect, and we gather as the imperfect saints of God who are made perfect not by how well we do it, but by what He did for you and I. If you want some scandal, if you want some ridicule, if you want some gossip, if you want some people that don't do it right, join whatever church you want to join.

You say, “Pastor Chip, it shouldn't be that way.”

I totally agree. It shouldn't be, but it is what it is, and he wants to get you — I mean, I can tell you over the years that I've done this, people will get twisted and bent over things, and just get so mad. It's like, man, that is just the enemy that has them all bound up. Don't let him do that. He wants you to live in fear. He wants you to walk around, all day long, worried about what's going on in the world so that you won't get your nose in Scripture, you won't spend time in prayer, and you won't go share the Gospel. He wants you to share your conspiracy theory. If he can get you sharing that, that'll be way better than sharing Jesus. If he can get you being religious, great. He wants you to live, though, in constant fear.

Not only that, but he wants you to replace God's Word. He wants you to find something else that you'll just move over into the place of God's Word. Something that you like, somebody that you like the way they say it. He’s like, “Man, just twist it a little bit. Just move it a little bit.”

Isn't that the very first thing the old enemy says? He says, “Did God really say?”

He loves to get us questioning God's Word, and he wants you and I to fail so bad that we fail to complete defeat. That we’re defeated, we're mad, we're angry, we have doubt, we have fear, we hate the church, we don't care about God's Word anymore. This is what he wants to do. This is how he works. I think most of us get up every single morning ill-prepared in our dress. We haven't really put on the things that we need to put on.

Second: Decide, daily, to be equipped. Daily. This is something you’ve just got to decide daily. He says, “Take up the whole armor of God. Take it up.”

And here’s what we do. Let's be honest. This is for all of us. We’ve all done this. “Chip, I mean, I know that sounds great, and it’s probably so, but Chip, I mean, let's be honest, just a little isn't going to hurt me. I mean, I put everything on, but I mean, you're taking this thing way too serious, man. Come on. Every morning? I mean, if I get out there in the world a little bit, a little bit of the world isn't going to hurt me. There’s no way that this stuff here will affect me.”

Let me tell you, as your pastor, more than you have any idea do those little, teeny things, and those little things that we allow in affect us in ways that we have no idea. Solomon said it this way: “It’s the little foxes that spoil the vines.”

Lastly, realize God wants us to be able to stand. This is, at the end of the day, probably the greatest passion that I have, as a pastor, other than preaching the Gospel and having people come to know Jesus. It's to help people understand that doing it God's way is just better. He's not doing this to hurt you, folks. He's not telling you these things so that He can give you a bad day. He doesn't want you to live a life, look back, and have all kinds of, “Oh, man,” moments. He wants you to be able to stand. He says, “I want you to do this so that you can stand firm.”

Here’s the reality. This is what I want you to hear. God doesn't want any of us to live in regret. He doesn't want that for you. He wants you to look back and go, “I've been able to stand.”

Now, listen. This is going to be a little strange. I have an audio that I want you to hear. We're going to dim the lights. I'm going to tell you, right now, with the ADHD that goes on in America, it's going to be so easy to tune this thing out. It's going to be so easy for you to just start daydreaming. It's going to be so easy for you to start thinking, “What's for dinner? Yeah. What did we just talk about? Yeah. Is it raining? Yeah. What's going on tomorrow? Oh, the Super Bowl. Did I get wings? Who's playing?”

Listen, I want you to give me a few minutes of your ear. This could change your life. It's why listening to God, listening to His voice, listening to His Word matters. This is a few minutes long. Resist the temptation to tune it out because this just might change your life. Can we dim the lights? Then I'll start the audio. Listen in, please.


I was in Alaska doing a lawsuit. We're way out in the Ellucian islands, getting ready to leave, go back to Anchorage, and then home. I had a ticket in my pocket to get on an airplane. The pastor came up, and he said, “Listen, I can save you money.”

I said, “How's that?”

He said, “I flew a small airplane up here. I fly a small airplane, and I can take you in my little airplane, and you can save your ticket.”

This did not sound — I said, “Gee, thank you so very, very much, but I've got this ticket. We'll just make our way on home, me and this other lawyer with me.”

He said, “No, no, no. You’ve got to do it. You’ve got to do it.”

Against every better judgment I had, I said, “Okay.”

Well, we went out to the airport, and he took us by his little plane. I looked at it, and I thought, “Well, one good thing: It's shiny.”

Then he walked around it, and we got in. He's on the left front. I'm on the right front. The other lawyer's sitting right behind me. He started it up. It started up just fine. Well, we taxied out. I said, “Should we pray?”

He said, “Yeah, that's a good idea. We normally don't.”

I said, “Well, this time we're going to.”

I'm telling you, I prayed five to eight minutes. I prayed a long time. We went and got on the runway, he starts down the runway, the plane lifted off ever so gently, and we start climbing. It’s wonderful. Not a problem in the world. We started climbing, and we flew probably three or four minutes, and something happened that will never leave my mind. The pilot turned to me, and he said, “We’re going in the clouds, and I can't fly in clouds. They make me pass out.”

I said, “Clouds make you do what?”

Now, it's been cloudy all day. We go right up into the clouds, and you can't see anything. He looks at me, his eyes roll back in his head, he starts mumbling, and he passes out. Passed out cold.

Now, I grabbed him, I shook him, and I said, “Come on. You’ve got to wake up so I can kill you.”

Now, we are in the clouds, flying along, with no pilot. My friend in the backseat said, “We’re dead, aren't we?”

I said, “There's a very good chance of that, yes.”

He said, “What are we going to do?”

I said, “I don't know,” but there was a radio right there. I handed him the microphone, and I said, “Start asking for help.”

So, he's in the backseat, reaching up, and he said, “Hello? Hello?”

We didn't know any proper radio etiquette. All we were saying was, “Hello?” and somebody answered back, “Hello, hello. Don't you guys know proper radio etiquette?”

I said, give me. I said, “We don't know nothing. Tell him we are in an airplane with a passed-out pilot, and we don't know how to fly this plane.”

The guy said, “I'm a freighter flying out of Anchorage on the way to Tokyo. You’re telling me you have nobody who can fly that plane with you?”

I said, “Tell him that's correct.”

Now, you’ve got to understand I am sweating bullets. He said, “The first thing I'm going to do is start circling so I don't lose you because I'll fly out a range of your radio, and you won't have me anymore. I'm going to get Anchorage emergency for you, and Anchorage emergency will be the people who can maybe help try to save your life.”

After about five minutes, Anchorage came on. They said, “We understand you have a passed-out pilot, and you do not know how to fly that plane.”

We said, “That’s right.”

They said, “Well, the first thing we’ve got to do is find you.”

I'll never forget what this man at Anchorage said. He said, “My job is to get you home safe. That’s my job, but here's the deal. If you want me to get you home safe, you’ve got to promise me you'll obey my voice. You can't see me, but I can see you. If you're not going to obey my voice, you're going to die. When you can't see anything, you have no idea how disorientated you’ve become.”

Finally, he said, “Okay, I've found you. Now, hear me clear. You’re four minutes from a mountain. You’re going to crash into that mountain and die. Follow my voice.”

I never said, “I have to follow your voice. Is that reasonable?”

You see, I understood that without his voice, I had nothing. Do you understand that without God's voice, you have nothing? Nothing. Finally, he got us turned, and he said, “I'm freezing all the traffic in the area. It’s going to take me an hour and a half to get you to Anchorage, and there's a lot of weather between you and Anchorage. You're in for a rough ride. I want you to hear me. I don't want you to look at what's going on outside. I don't want you to pay attention to the storm. Just my voice. If you start watching the storm, you will die, but I'll take you through it.”

Now, because they cleared all the traffic, several pilots, those nighttime freighters, those 747s started talking to us. They said, “We’re praying for you, men. You're going to make it, but listen to the voice. That's the key. Trust the voice.”

Do you realize your head is full of voices, and everybody in this world wants to talk to you, and everybody wants to be the controlling voice? God says, “I want you to be a living sacrifice. I want you to put yourself on the altar and let my voice be your voice.”

Finally, we went through the worst of the weather, but there was still more. Then the voice came back, and it said, “Now, I'm going to line you up. I'm going to bring you in, right down the runway. At the foot of the runway are some lights, and they're in the form of a cross. Don’t you forget this. The cross is the way home.”

Finally, he's bringing us down, we still can't see anything, and all he kept saying is, “Stay with me.”

“My sheep,” the Bible says, “hear my voice, and they follow me.”

Finally, just a couple hundred feet off the ground, we saw the cross. I landed the plane. In fact, I landed it seven times. Finally, it all came to a stop. The minute we stopped, the pilot woke up. The voice said, “Thanks for listening. I watch them crash and burn all the time because they won't follow my voice. They don't understand that I'm the one who can see them even when they can't see me. They get the voices in their head, and they kill themselves. They self-destruct. Thanks for listening to the voice.”

Then they put us in a motel room. At about four in the morning there was a knock at my door. I opened the door, and a man was standing there. He said, “Hello, David.”

I said, “You’re the voice. You're the one who got me home.”

He said, “I am.”

Do you understand, one day, you're going to stand before Him and say, “You were the voice? You're the voice that brought me hope.”

If you're not on that altar as a living sacrifice, your head's full of voices. Then we wonder why kids crash and burn. We wonder why marriages are shattered. The Lord is saying, “I'm the one who has the voice.”

All I can remember is that voice saying, “Stay with me. Stay with me. Don't listen to what's going on in your head and don't watch the storm. Stay with me, and I'll take you through.”

Tonight, you have a God who has promised to take you through. A living sacrifice, holy.

[End Audio]

That's my role, as your pastor. I want you to hear His voice. I want you to realize that He has plans for you. He has purpose for you. He knows better. Maybe right now in your life, wherever you're at, this is the time that you need to say, “Do you know what? I need to really start listening to His voice. I need to realize that there is stuff going on, that He does want me to be prepared, and He does want me to be dressed right. He does want me to be prepared for the onslaughts that will come my way.”

He does. He is your defender. He is the one who watches over you. He's the one you should listen to because He is the one that loves you.

Keep learning

Learn about our Discover Classes and Grace University. Browse through topical short video series, view interviews with Christian thought leaders, or take an in-depth systematic theology video class with Pastor Chip.