Live YouTube Version
Welcome back to the next edition of Faith Matters. I have had several people ask me when is the next sermon coming and I had to tell them soon and very soon. I was recently asked to preach for the youth at a Church and this message is a live recorded version from that service. God has continued to bless me and my family, so don’t think for a moment that anything bad has happened. Exactly the opposite, God has been using my wife and me in many new ways to reach even more people. So far now sit back and listen to this message via soundcloud or watch the live recorded version on YouTube. God Bless.
Welcome to Relentless Student Ministries. I am glad that each of you came out here tonight. I have been praying that the message tonight will touch your heart and leave you wanting to do more for the Kingdom of God. But before I go any further let us open up with prayer. Heavenly Father I thank you for each of these teenagers. Lord I pray that you give me the perfect words to break down the walls in their lives, to break down the barriers surrounding their heart, to open their eyes to how much Your love Lord wants to pour out all over them. Lord be with us today as we dig into the word and teach us how to be stronger and more loving like You. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
What does the word “Approved” or “Approval” mean to you?
Merriam Websters says the word approve means:
to believe that something or someone is good or acceptable
to officially accept (an idea, action, plan, etc.)
5 Why should I fear when evil days come,
when wicked deceivers surround me—
6 those who trust in their wealth
and boast of their great riches?
7 No one can redeem the life of another
or give to God a ransom for them—
8 the ransom for a life is costly,
no payment is ever enough—
9 so that they should live on forever
and not see decay.
10 For all can see that the wise die,
that the foolish and the senseless also perish,
leaving their wealth to others.
11 Their tombs will remain their houses[b] forever,
their dwellings for endless generations,
though they had[c] named lands after themselves.
12 People, despite their wealth, do not endure;
they are like the beasts that perish.
13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves,
and of their followers, who approve their sayings.[d]
14 They are like sheep and are destined to die;
death will be their shepherd
(but the upright will prevail over them in the morning).
Their forms will decay in the grave,
far from their princely mansions.
15 But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead;
he will surely take me to himself.
16 Do not be overawed when others grow rich,
when the splendor of their houses increases;
17 for they will take nothing with them when they die,
their splendor will not descend with them.
18 Though while they live they count themselves blessed—
and people praise you when you prosper—
19 they will join those who have gone before them,
who will never again see the light of life.
20 People who have wealth but lack understanding
are like the beasts that perish.
Did you catch verse number 13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves,
and of their followers, who approve their sayings.[d]
This is the fate of those who trust in themselves. Are you trusting in yourself to get you through each and every day? Are you relying on your friends to pick you up when you are down?
When I was a teenager going through High School I didn’t really fit into just one group. Oh yeah if I haven’t mentioned this yet I went to the same High School as Pastor Chad. I actually was there when his younger brother and sister were in school. Such a small world that I knew Chad before he came to this Church yet God uprooted him and his family and placed him in my backyard. God is always working and moving the puzzle pieces around, you just don’t always know what the end picture looks like.
Okay, so back to the everyday look of High School. Normally you have your punk rockers, the country boys, the preppies, the gangsters, the jocks; well okay you get the point. I didn’t fit into any one of those groups. During lunch I would walk around to each of the groups say hello to the people I knew, make a joke and then walk to the next group. I felt so out of place because I didn’t belong in any one particular group, yet I still wanted their approval.
Looking back at my past I would say that God gave me a gift that I didn’t even realize. He gave me the ability to adapt to my surroundings in the moment, but not get caught up in acting like them. Sometimes we try so hard to fit in that we will take it to the extremes to get others to like us. For some of us we are willing to cut our hair, dye our hair, change our clothing styles, buy name brands, but in the end what are you really changing about the core you?
I have brought some of my clothes for people to try on. Now you may look cool like me, but are you really me? Just because you look like me on the outside doesn’t mean that you can ever replicate me on the inside.
Why is this important?
You see we look to other people to get their approval when we should really be looking to God. People look at the outer you that they can see with their eyes, but God looks at the inner you. God looks at your heart. Let me say that again, people look at the outer you that they can see with their eyes, but God looks at the inner you. God looks at your heart.
Now ask yourself this, why are you trying so hard to impress others on the outside, but leaving the garbage on the inside? Don’t you realize that old garbage starts to smell and leave a foul odor?
Ponder that for a moment. Why do we try so hard to look good and well put together when we are falling apart on the inside?
Who can change the inside? Who can change the pain that I am feeling? Who can change the sorrows of my past? Who can change my future? It is not me.
Only Jesus can, say it with me, Jesus.
Ezekiel 36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
God isn’t checking on the outside appearance that we try to portray to those around us.
Jeremiah 17:10 “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
I know right now you are asking yourself, Mr. Nick what are you trying to tell me? I am plainly telling you this; you don’t have to be a somebody for God to love you. God has created you to be you and no one else. Stop trying to fit in to be accepted and realize that God has called you to be the salt in this world.
Let me give you another example of how God has shown me when I mess up. Some of you know I have been on Twitter for about 3 years now. When I first started Twitter all I was talking about was my wife’s music and trying to get people to listen to it. I wanted “man’s approval” of what my wife has done. As her husband of course I am proud of her, but whether this person or that person likes her music wasn’t really important in the big picture.
God convicted me of this. I joined a group that would do Bible Studies weekly on Twitter by using a hashtag. I quickly learned that I had to stop trying to promote my wife’s music and start promoting God. I let the music become a stumbling block (an idol) as I seeked out the approval of others.
God opened my eyes to the fact that I didn’t need the approval of others, but instead to live a life that is pleasing unto Him. I stopped trying to share the music and instead started sharing God and what He has done in my life. The number of people who started noticing my love for God started to grow. First a few hundred and then a few thousand. The exact number of people today following me doesn’t matter but the number that means the most to me is the number of people that I have shared Jesus with on a personal level.
A little over three years ago now I thought God was going to call me into the mission field to be a missionary. I have since learned that God is using me as a missionary to reach people all over the world right here from Jacksonville Florida. Social Media is an awesome way to reach people but if you are using it incorrectly then you are contributing to the downfall of your peers.
Let me share my biggest pet peeve when I read a profile. God first! Sexy B. DM me anytime, I love to talk and get to know you better. How can someone say God first, but then the very next item be a contradiction of the word of God. We are not “Sexy B’s” we are children of God.
**Stop trying to be the person you think people want you to be and start being the person that God has created you to be.
Another thing that I have noticed is people posting about God one moment but then sharing videos and vines of people fighting, smoking, and being cruel to each other. Now do we really think this is what God wants from us?
Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
In conclusion I say all of this to bring it back to the fact that God loves you. Do not try to impress people because the same people you are trying to impress won’t be there when you need them, but God will. If you want to seek out the approval of anyone seek out God’s approval in your life. If you follow His word then He will light the path for your footsteps and then you will realize that God opens doors that no man could.