The View from Rock Bottom - Micah 7:8-10 - Al Pittman
Hello and welcome to this message from Calvary Church. We're excited to hear from our guest speaker Al Pittman, senior pastor of Calvary Worship Center in Colorado Springs. We pray God uses this teaching to impact you with his love. If this message encourages you, let us know. Email us at email@example.com. And if you'd like to support the ministry of Calvary Church financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/give.
Now we invite you to open your Bible to Micah chapter 7 as Pastor Al begins the message, The View From Rock Bottom.
Father we thank you so much, dear God, that we can gather here today and just be reminded of your truth and your word. We ask Father that you will anoint your word. You will bless your word, that your word would go forth with your promise that it will not return void but will accomplish that which you sent it to do.
We ask Father that you would grant us ears to hear what the spirit is saying to the church and hearts to receive your word, Lord, that we might bear fruit to your glory. So we commit this time to you.
We thank you dear God that we can gather here today. We give you all the praise and all the glory. Magnify, Father, the son, and may the son magnify the Father. We give you all the praise and glory in Jesus' name. And everyone said--
Amen. Amen. Praise the Lord.
Well, if you have a Bible, please turn to Micah chapter 7, Micah chapter 7. And what I want to talk to you about today is really a view from rock bottom. That's the title of the message, but basically speaking to those of us who may be going through a difficult time where we feel like maybe God is done with us or maybe it has been because of your own actions or whatever, but you're at rock bottom.
Anybody ever been at rock bottom? You know what I'm talking about. Amen. It's that place where you feel like, man, it can't get any worse than this. And we all have these experiences.
As they say, you're either going into a trial, or you are in the midst of a trial, or you're coming out of a trial. Amen. That's kind of the way life goes many times.
And I remember years ago, in kind of one of my many rock bottom experiences, my wife and I-- we were in our 20s, I think. And we didn't have a lot of money. You know when you're in your 20s and you're young, you're just living on love. Amen.
Then you figure out love can't pay the bills.
And we didn't have a lot of money and all of that, and so we were kind of getting along and trying to make our way as a young couple. We needed a car and my father-in-law gave us a car that he had. It was an older car, but we were just glad to have it. It didn't look really pretty or anything.
And he was a master mechanic. He could get things to run. Didn't look pretty, but he made 'em run, you know? So it didn't look that great or whatever but, you know what, as they say, an ugly ride is better than a pretty walk, right?
So we were glad to get that car, man. It was an a to b car, man. It could get us around and all. But he told me something. He said, you know what, I'm giving you this car, but you've got to understand sometimes the engine catches on fire.
And I don't know if my father-in-law's way of telling me that he didn't approve of his daughter's decision to marry me. I don't know. But we thought, OK. That's just great. We'll watch that and all.
So I'm going to Jack in the Box one day. We're on a Jack in the Box diet, or budget I should say. And I'm in the drive-through, and I place my order, and I pull into this drive through to pick up my order.
And you've got the wall here where they give you your order. But there was another wall on the other side, so it was kind of like in a little alleyway. And I'm sitting here waiting for my food to come out.
And I noticed on top of the hood that the paint on the top of the hood started like melting and bubbling a little bit. I'm going, what's going on? Then smoke started coming from underneath the car and all of this.
And the little girl that had my order, instead of giving me my order, she just slams the door-- you know the little sliding door there-- so I've managed to get out of the car. The car must be on fire. And I lift up the hood, and, you know, flames on top of the engine.
And the girl opens the window again, doesn't call 911 or anything. Amen. I mean, I'm like, where's the love, you know? I mean the brother might burn up in the alley here. Where's the love?
So she hands me this fire extinguisher then slams the thing again. And so I put the fire out. And the wiring's burned up, the engine and all of this-- and you know, never did see the fire department anyway. But I pushed it out of the drive-through.
And I pushed it into a parking space until I could come back and get it later. And I walked back to work. And I was thinking, man, it just doesn't get any better-- I mean worse-- than this.
It was one of those times where you feel like you're at rock bottom. In our text, Judah, Israel is at rock bottom. They're at rock bottom.
It's one thing to be at rock bottom when circumstances are beyond your control. It's another thing to be at rock bottom when you have been complicit in your own demise. And this is where we find Judah. They had sinned against the Lord.
They were at rock bottom. I mean, their enemies are rejoicing over their demise and the impending judgment of God against them. They're at rock bottom. And yet here at rock bottom in their history, in the history of Judah, southern Israel, there's a word of hope.
And I'm here today to just hopefully give someone a word of hope and truth from the word of God that even at rock bottom the Lord is there with you. And the Lord is still able to help you and to strengthen you, that he has not abandoned you.
So I pray that God will bless you through his word today. And there are three reasons that I want us to look at. I wanted three reasons why this prophetic word, given over 700 years before the time of Christ, is relevant to the believer today, to those who are in that place of despair or rock bottom.
There are three reasons that I want to share with you why we can have hope even when it seems like everything around us is hopeless. And then we want to talk about the application of those three reasons. And we'll get into that in a little bit here.
But the first reason I find that we can have hope, even though we're at rock bottom just like Israel, is because God is for us. I want you to read with me just a few verses, beginning of verse 8 of Micah chapter 7 where the prophet has been speaking about the impending judgment of God all the way up to this point.
And then in chapter 7 verse 8 here's his word of hope. He says to the enemies of Judah, "Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise". Amen.
"When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness."
And then speaking to the nations around Judah that were rejoicing in their demise, he says in verse 10, "then she"-- that is the pagan nations-- "who is my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, 'Where is the Lord your God?'"
Isn't that something we've all heard from the enemy of our soul? Where is God now? Where is the Lord your God? And he goes on to say, "My eyes will see her"-- that is my enemies-- "now she will be trampled down like mud in the streets."
Those who are against Judah would find themselves on sort of the short end of the stick, that God will defend his people even though they are in a place that is rock bottom. The first thing, again, that it reminds me of here as I read this short passage is that, number one, God is for us. God is for me.
He says here in verse 8 that even though I may fall, I will arise. Even though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. What does that mean? God is for me. Did you know that God is for you this morning? He's not against you.
Romans chapter 8, verse 31, Paul says there-- many of us are familiar with this passage, this verse. "What then shall we say then to these things?" If God is for me, who can be against me?
"If God is for us, who can be against us?" It's almost like I see God saying, if God is for us, who? You know it's almost like God folds his arms and in eternity and sees who? Come on, step up. What you got, you know? Who is against us? Who can be against us if God is for us?
Now I love it here, the conjunction here "when." The conjunction-- it means-- that word "when" is a conjunction and it means "at the time that." I fall at the time that I'm sitting in darkness. And he says when, the conjunction when, meaning not if, but when.
What does that mean? That means that there are going to be times that you're going to fail. Amen. Let's be real about it, church. There are times that we just don't measure up and time when we fall. And there are going to be dark times in your life, you know, the times when you're unsure what tomorrow holds or you're afraid or whatever.
There are going to be times like that. But when it happens, listen. At the very moment it happens, the very moment you fall, the very moment you find yourself in darkness, you are still more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ loves you. Amen.
Still more than a conqueror-- the Bible tells us again in Romans 8:31 and then verse 37. He says, what shall we say to these things, God? If God is for us, then who can be against us? And then he says, "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."
What does it mean to be more than a conqueror? It means that I'm fighting from a position not for victory, but from victory. I'm more than a conqueror. The war has already been won.
Jesus Christ is victorious, and we are victorious through him. And yes, devil, even at the time I fall, when you come to condemn me, I'm still more than a conqueror.
Even in times of darkness and confusion when I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, I'm still more than a conqueror. Amen. that's what it means for us as believers in Christ. And if we lose sight of this very fact, we lose sight of the fact that God's love is deeper than your fall.
Do you believe that? I think there's a lot of believers who don't believe that. Somehow God is finished with me. God's love is deep than your fall. God's love is deeper than the darkness you may be facing.
This is what he's saying to Judah. I will arise. The Lord will be a light to me. Remember the love of God in those times when you feel you're at rock bottom. Remember that rock bottom is not going to separate you from the love of God.
I love what Paul tells us in Romans chapter 8. Many of us love to hear these words. It's worth reading again where Paul says, "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Amen.
Amen. That covers it all. Amen. That covers it all. He loves us. Somebody said God loves you. Get over it. Amen. he loves us. The lie of the enemy is that when you're at rock bottom, like Judah, the lie of the enemy is that God has abandoned you. But in reality, scripture supports the fact that when we're at rock bottom God is more closer to us then than ever before, at that time than ever before.
Why do I say that? Because of the words of David, the words of King David who said in Psalm 51, verse 17 that, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart. These, O God, You will not despite" their brokenness. God doesn't run from our brokenness. He runs to it. The sorrow, the broken heart, the contrite heart-- he doesn't run from us. He runs to us. Amen.
He's drawn to our brokenness. So Pastor I am in a place of brokenness. I'm in a place of sorrow. I caused this myself. How can God love me? He still loves you. He's near to those of a broken spirit and a contrite heart. God is for you this morning. If you've forgotten that, I want you to hear it. God is for you.
And here's a second reason why we can have hope even at rock bottom. It's because God's discipline always produces peace. God disciplines his children, does he not? God would take your behind to the woodshed.
Amen. He will discipline us, not because he wants to punish us and he gets off on punishing us, but because he loves us. He loves us. The Bible says in Hebrews chapter 12 verse 6, "For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. " God chastens us because he loves us. If God didn't chasten us, it would mean that God did not love us, but he loves us.
I don't know if you saw the video, it's probably gone viral, the toddler that's on the eight hour flight that threw a temper tantrum for eight hours on this flight. You know I was just watching this thing.
And they kind of, you know-- showing you what happened the third hour, the fourth hour, the fifth hour. This kid is just screaming his head off and all this. I thought, man, I wish I was on that flight. I would have volunteered-- amen-- to handle his business.
I know people are like, oh, leave him alone. He's acting out. He's, you know-- back in the day-- amen. oh, don't you act up with momma in the grocery store. You think because you in public and you're on aisle 16 that mama's not going to do anything.
Oh, that will be a clean up on aisle 16. Amen. Mama will get a hold of you. Amen. And if you're out some place and she takes you into the bathroom, she's not taking you to the bathroom. She's taking you to the Mount of Transfiguration.
Because when you're in the bathroom and she gets finished with you, you would have thought you saw Moses, Jesus and Elijah-- amen-- on the mount. Say Mama, we got a build from Tabernacles here. No, you just act right. Amen.
You'd come out of that bathroom, boy, walking straight forwards saying, yes ma'am, no ma'am, and everything. Amen. That was back in the day. Amen. Mothers knew how to handle you back then. But she disciplined us because she loved us. You're not going to act like that.
And God disciplines us because he loves us. He disciplines us also because he wants us to be a partaker of His Holiness. There in Hebrews chapter 12, the writer of Hebrews says, "For they"-- our parents-- "indeed for a few days chasten us as seemed best to them, but He"-- that is God-- "for our profit, that we may be partakers of His Holiness." And you think, oh, holiness, that word holiness-- you know it means speaks of God's nature.
Oh, well, what is God's nature? Well His natures can be seen in the fruit of the Holy Spirit, love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, meekness, kindness. God wants us to experience his love, joy, peace, gentleness, meekness, his kindness, the self-control, his nature. He wants us to enter into and be one with who he is, and so he will discipline us many times.
And so here in our text, verse 9, Micah says, I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him. Wow. He's speaking on behalf of Judah.
We will bear the indignation of the Lord, the discipline of the Lord, because we have sinned against him. In other words, they're not blaming someone else. They're not saying, oh, you know, for us husbands, Lord it's the wife you gave me. Don't try that one. It's already been tried once before.
Oh, it's my parents. Oh, I was raised in the ghetto. I was raised this way, that way. Oh, I just can't help it, or whatever. No, Lord, I choose to say, like David said Lord against you and you only have I done this great wickedness in your sight. I will bear the indignation, Lord. I have sinned and you are disciplining me. It's me, Lord. It is my sin.
Jesus told the story of the man who went to the temple and how the Pharisee was standing there boasting about how righteous he was. I don't smoke, drink, or chew, or go with girls who do, the Pharisees said. Amen. I mean that's not really in your Bible, but that's basically what he was saying.
Oh, I tithe and I do all these things, and yet there was this man over in the corner beating his breast saying God have mercy on me, a sinner. Jesus said that man went down from the temple justified bearing the indignation, the discipline of the Lord, and saying, God, I have sinned.
It's time to stop making excuses and saying, God, it's not my wife. It's not my husband. Lord, it's me. It's not the churches. It's not the pastors, not this, it's not that. Lord, it's me. I will bear the indignation. I made the choice. Lord, I come and I submit to your discipline.
And the Lord says when we do that, it will be to our profit. Yes, even at rock bottom there is profit. Even at rock bottom we can experience his peace if we will bear the indignation of the Lord, if we will understand that his discipline is not to do to destroy us but to heal us.
So we see that God is for us. We see that his discipline brings us to a place of profit, of peace. And we can buy that. We can get up from rock bottom. We can overcome that place called rock bottom. And lastly, we can overcome because we have been justified through faith in Christ.
And the reason I say that is verse 9, the latter part says, until he-- that is God-- pleads my case and executes justice for me, he will bring me forth to the light. Amen. I will see his righteousness. Now Micah is looking forward. He will execute justice for me.
He's looking forward to the messiah, to the promise of messiah, but we can look back to the cross and know that the promise has been fulfilled, that through faith in Jesus Christ, we have been justified through the Lord.
You know, my ability, or the reason I can get up from rock bottom, is not because I've been on a time out with God, and God put me on time out, and now I've done enough good things and now I can kind of rise up from this place and I can move forward.
No, I can rise up at the moment that I turn to the Lord, because why? I've been justified through faith in Jesus Christ. He is my justification, not my deeds, not my works, but my faith and what Christ has already done for me.
So we can look back at Calvary and we can see this, that God has indeed considered our case. As he says here, until he pleads my case. He has already taken our case or examined our case, if you will. And our case, you can say, has been thrown out of court in light of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
He declares here that I will see His righteousness. And we have seen the righteousness of God as believers today through the face of Jesus Christ. Amen. And so through faith in Him we have been justified.
God has seen our case. He knows that we are all sinners. He knows that we were condemned by the law, but through faith in Christ we have been justified. In fact, his righteousness has become our righteousness.
Philippians chapter 3, verse 9 says, of us as believers that we might "be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith." Amen.
He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. And if your faith is in Jesus Christ when the Lord looks at you, even at rock bottom he does not see some something that's marred and something that needs to be set aside or cast out or ignored. He sees the righteousness of his son.
Isn't that glorious? Because of our faith in the Lord, not because of our performance, not because of who we are but because of who Jesus Christ is. So even back then, 700 years or more before the birth of Christ, Micah was declaring here that there was hope even at rock bottom for those who will put their complete trust in the Lord, for those who believe that God is for them, for those who believe that his discipline always leads to profit, for those who truly believe that he has justified us through faith in Christ.
You don't have to stay at rock bottom. There's always a way out. Now here's the application, I think, of this text, because I was thinking about this. And it sort of came to me as we-- last week we had a friend of mine. He works for the Navigators.
He's a vice president with the Navigators and he was sharing with our church staff. And he was sharing from Philippians chapter 2. And I'd heard this verse before, but it just really stuck out to me in a powerful way. But God began to minister to me about Philippians chapter 2 in the context of what Jesus said in regards to the cross, because I believe the application here for us is that we talk about being at rock bottom.
And no matter where we are, but especially when you're at rock bottom, that the way out is for us as believers to embrace the cross. And many times God will use problems and trials in our lives to bring us back to the simplicity of the cross to embrace the cross once again.
You say, well, we already know about the cross and all of that, but to embrace your cross. You know, when you're at rock bottom there's a temptation for us to complain or to give into our temptations, and to make excuses, and justify the reason why I'm still angry. I'm still bitter, I'm still this. I'm still that.
But if we will embrace the cross, yes, even at rock bottom, it will prove to be our deliverance. And there is a cross for God that God has for each and every one of us to embrace. In fact, Jesus said it this way in Matthew chapter 10. He said, and he who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. And he who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. Amen.
Yes. Even at rock bottom there is a call to us to embrace the cross, to understand that I can stand again based on the righteousness of Christ and God's faithfulness and all of that, but I also need to embrace my cross. Yes. There is the cross of Christ for salvation. And I'm talking about that cross.
I'm talking about God has a cross for each and every one of us here today. In fact, rock bottom many times is a test really of our obedience to the Lord. You say you're following the Lord, but how far will you follow Jesus? Will you embrace your cross? How far will you truly follow the Lord?
Again Philippians chapter 2 that I alluded to earlier, verse 8. As this friend of mine was sharing with our staff, he shared this verse, which reads, "And being found in appearance as a man"-- that is Jesus-- "He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."
Now we've heard that many times. I'm sure you've heard it before. I've read it. I've preached it. I studied it. But it just hit me all of a sudden.
I want to share with you what God just kind of spoke to my heart. I pray that it would minister to you. And what God spoke to my heart-- he said, whether you're at rock bottom or wherever you are, he's like, are you willing to embrace the cross?
Jesus obeyed the Father. He was obedient in everything, even the death of the cross. And Al, a lot of times you are obedient to God in all these things. You'll study the Bible. You'll preach the word. You know you'll pray for people. You do all of these things.
But then there's that cross that I have customized, that I have made just for you to carry for you to be crucified upon, to crucify self and the flesh upon, and when you come up against that, you choose not to get up on the cross.
You're obedient to a point, but then God says here's your cross. That cross for some of us may be forgiveness. That cross for some of us may may be letting go of something in your life that is hindering your relationship with the Lord. You know what it is. But it's a cross, and God says you need to die at this very moment. But we will go so far with the Lord.
Just like Jesus, I'm following him. He's my example. Praise the Lord. Amen. On my way to Zion, until we get to a certain point and then we become like Peter when he was on the rooftop of Simon the tanner and the blanket came down. You remember the story. And it had all types of unkosher animals on the blanket and the vision he saw.
And the Lord said rise, and kill, and eat, and what did Peter say? It was an oxymoron. He said, not so, Lord. So I will follow you, Lord, but then there are some things that you're going to want me to do and I'm going to say not so, Lord.
That's refusal to be crucified with Christ. That's a refusal to mount up on that cross and say, Lord, yes, I want to be like Jesus who is obedient but even to the death of the cross. Am I willing to bear my cross? Am I willing to die to myself?
That's what the Lord brought to me. And even at rock bottom that if you want to rise up, if you want the Lord to be a light to you in darkness, you have to embrace the cross. Embrace the cross.
Now here are some of the crosses I like to embrace. I like to embrace the cross of convenience. Lord, if it's convenient, hallelujah. I like to embrace the cross of commercialism.
You know there's a lot of Christian commercialism today. And if it's cool, then I'm down with it. Lord, I want to look cool. Well, sometimes we want to embrace the cross of comfort. is it easy, meaning I don't have to sacrifice anything? Oh, that's my cross.
Or how about the cross of culture? Today we're living such divisively, so much divisiveness that even in the church, we're dividing along political lines and racial lines and all of this.
But here, let me tell you. And you know this. You've been taught well. There's no black church or white church. There is no Latino church, or Asian church, or Native American church. There is only the Church of Jesus Christ. There's only one culture in the kingdom.
There's only one culture in the kingdom and that culture is Christ. Amen.
I remember years ago there was a dear sister at our church. She was our-- you know, it's not politically correct but she was a secretary, amen, back in the day. I don't know what it is today, but anyway. And she would answer the phones and all this. And there was a person-- a lady called the church and was asking about the Church.
And she finally kind of got around to what she really wanted to know. And she said, well, you know, I kind of need to ask you a question. Is this a black church?
And the dear sister that worked at our church, she said, no. It's red brick.
I loved that answer.
Amen. I love that.
We're going to carry the cross of Christ. It can't be according to this culture, commercialism, or convenience, or comfort. If we're truly carrying the cross, the cross always means cruelty for the flesh spiritually speaking. It always means discomfort for our flesh because our flesh doesn't want to obey the spirit.
For when we're carrying the cross it always, always implies agony to self, because self wants to rule but we must deny ourselves. And we must pick up our cross and we must follow him. And it's never easy. And if we're carrying a cross that doesn't deny our flesh, then I would say we're not carrying the cross of Christ.
Pick up your cross and follow me. It is to go against the grain of the world. Yes. Even in a place called rock bottom when I feel like I got nothing else, embrace the cross. It is our deliverance. It is our hope. The cross always means crucifixion. And crucifixion is not a nice word for the flesh.
Galatians chapter 2, Paul says, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Amen. My life is not my own. I've been bought at a price.
If the Lord tells me to die to myself, man, it's table. It's agonizing, 'cause I don't want to do it. I want what I want. And I can throw a temper tantrum, and I can fall down, and I can roll on the floor, and God is just sitting there go, you finished?
And when I'm finished, I rise up, and I embrace the cross, and I say, nevertheless. If there is not a nevertheless in your faith, your faith will be miserable.
Jesus was in the garden and he prayed, Father, let this cup pass from me, but never the less, not my will, but your will be done. Lord, I don't want to forgive. Lord, I want to hold onto the bitterness. Lord, I want to continue.
Lord, the hold is against that person. Lord, I want to just be mad all the time, and I just don't want to let that thing go, or I want to hold onto that habit, Lord. Oh, it's so good when I'm by myself and in the dark.
Oh I know it's offensive to you, Lord, but nevertheless, Lord. Nevertheless, your will be done. If you want me to let that go, Lord, I lay it down. If you want me to forgive, nevertheless. I know it's painful. I know I want to just slap that person into next week, but God I choose to forgive and to love them.
Nevertheless, not my will. Why? Because it is not my life. It's his life. Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. So no more excuses even at rock bottom.
No more excuses for not embracing your cross. I know what mine is, and it ain't easy. And like Paul it's not a weekly thing. It's not an annual thing. I die daily. Every day I do. Amen. So that Christ, the life I now live, is for the glory of God and not the glory of my flesh.
It's not easy. Temptations will come. Temptations will come and we make excuses for those temptations when we're at rock bottom. So we think somehow God owes us something. But temptations will come.
But with every temptation, remember this. This thought came to me the other day. Now I'm a little thick. I'm a little slow. Finally God gets it through to me. If you spell temptation with a lower case t, it makes the sign of the cross, does it not?
And the Lord said with every temptation comes a cross, comes a choice that I'm going to crawl up, go up on that cross and die to what I want so that I can live for His glory, or I can give in to that temptation. With every temptation there is a cross. Think about it. A time for us to die so that Jesus says-- as Jesus said, so we can live. If you lose your life, you'll find it if you lose it for my sake. Amen.
Now when we're at rock bottom, when we're going through those times, God doesn't use those times to beat us up or to-- he really uses the rocks, if I can continue with that theme, the rocks at rock bottom as foundation stones for your character.
God uses the rocks at rock bottom as foundation stones to build your character. All is not lost when you're at rock bottom. He uses that. All things work together for good. Amen?
Amen. Those who love God are called according to his purpose. He uses the rocks, the things that you know you don't like at rock bottom as foundation stones to build your character. Why? Because God is more interested in character among his people than He is charisma.
He wants people of character whose faith has been proven to be genuine more precious than gold. And He will use rock bottom many times. Those places where he's like, man, I don't know what's going on here. It's dark and I don't-- God says, hold onto the cross because I'm using this to build the character within you that would bring me greater glory.
I love what Dr. Rick Rigsby said speaking to a graduating class at a business college. He's the author of a book written out of memory for his father, who was a third grade dropout, and title of the book is Lessons From a Third Grade Dropout. Lessons he learned from his dad-- but he said this to the graduating class.
He said, and I quote, "Rock bottom can also be a great foundation upon which to build. I'm not worried that you will be successful. I'm worried that you won't fail from time to time. The person that gets off the canvas and keeps growing, that's the person who will continue to grow their influence." Close quote. So true.
You see I like to minister out of my wins, but God ministers most effectively through my wounds. I stand here today not as someone who is just winning all the time and has never done wrong, has never fallen on their face. I've fallen on my face.
And then God says, now don't hide that fact. Tell other people that you've fallen but you've learned to get up off the canvas, because when you show people your wounds it encourages them to win. And a lot of times at church we come to church hiding all our wounds.
I'm perfect. I'm doing great. How you doing brother? Doing great, brother. Praise the Lord. How are you doing, brother? Brother, brother, brother-- speaking Christianese and faking it and all of that.
Show people your wounds. Why, because Jesus did. And in fact, when we get to heaven, the only marred person there will be Christ, who will still have the wounds in his hands and in his feet and the hole in his side. And his wounds have brought healing to us and God will use your wounds to bring healing to others.
Isn't it amazing when you're talking to someone, and they're like, yeah, man I'm going through this, that, and the other, and you go, yeah, that happened to me too? And you began to share your story, how it helps them to overcome. Amen.
Isn't that what the Bible says? They overcame the evil one by the word of their testimony, the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony. Amen. Share your story. Don't hide your wounds. Show 'em to people. Show 'em that you're standing today.
You've come up from rock bottom because of what God did for you, because of the cross of Christ. And it will be encouraging to them to embrace that same cross. Amen. Praise His holy name. Give Him glory. Amen.
All right. Now in conclusion, and that always means another 30 minutes for preachers. I'm just teasing. I'm wrapping it up here another minute or so. I want you to know this if you're at rock bottom.
If you feel like you're in a place of despair and darkness, if you've even fallen, that rock bottom is never the end, but it's only the beginning of a greater work that God can do.
And when you're at rock bottom, remember this, or remember what the Psalmist said. Psalm 61 verse 2, "From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I."
At rock bottom, there's always a rock higher than you. Lead me to the cross, Lord. Lead me to the cross of deliverance, the cross of healing, the rock that is higher than I. Amen. Praise His holy name.
Thank you Father for this time that we have had in your word, your reminder to us, dear God, that we may be at rock bottom but we don't have to stay there, that you, Lord, have sent Jesus as our justification. Yes, even as our disciplinarian.
You've sent Jesus, Lord, who is for us, not against us, that we indeed, Lord, might be more than conquerors through faith in Him. Help us Lord to embrace that cross. Help us to turn from our sin to repent, dear Father, to turn to you, to bear the indignation, and say, God, I have sinned against you.
Whatever it means, Father, help us dear God to obey your voice to say, nevertheless, Father, your will be done. We give you all the praise and glory that even at rock bottom that there is a rock that is higher than us. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Church featuring our guest speaker Al Pittman. Did this message strengthen your relationship with the Lord? Tell us about it. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.