Put your hands on your head and repeat after me:

“I HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST. I HAVE WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING. I HAVE CLEAR THINKING AND COMMON SENSE. AND I HAVE THE POWER, IN JESUS. AMEN”

Our first reading today is found in Philippians Chapter 3. Let’s make it 4. “Do I hear 5?”

Chapter 4:6-7:

Be anxious for nothing, but everything prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. Let your request be known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

“Lord, guide us through your word today, as only you can. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Guard your mind. We just prayed about that. We have the mind of Christ. So, we can ask God to guard our mind.

Watch your mind, watch what you’re thinking. Watch what you’re doing. It’s important. Your thoughts.

Everything starts with a thought. Then becomes your words, and then your words become your actions.

So, it’s all tied together, 1, 2,3. You have a thought, and then you have your words that you talk about, and then you have your actions that you take.

What is on your heart? Let me ask you that today. What is on your heart?

If you could sit down with Jesus right now; which you can. Let’s say you can be with him one on one, in person. Who would want to do that?

Well, he’s sitting in the other room here, so who would like to go first?

Actually, He’s in this room, right now, by His Spirit. What is on your heart that you are going to converse with him? Would you be able to tell him really how you feel? Just your gut feeling.

Maybe you’re happy with the way things are; maybe you’re discontent. Maybe you’re mad at Him. Would you tell him exactly how you feel and be honest about it? Because he knows if you’re lying, so tell Him the truth.

Tell Him what’s on your heart, how you’re really feeling right now. And what you’re thinking. It’s important to take a little time and spend it with the Lord open and honestly with Him.

When I got up this morning, I was asking right away that I would be able to speak today and wouldn’t get in a coughing jag. And then I found out that worship wasn’t going to happen because of this and that.

All these things start to come up, and it’s like, you know what, Lord, my eyes are on you. I thought of King Saul when he was surrounded. He was the king of the nation of Israel. The enemy surrounded the whole city.

He looked out and said, Lord, we can’t beat this army. I don’t know what to do. My eyes are on you. And he sat there, and he waited.

Sometimes that’s all you can do. Many times, that’s what God wants you to do. Don’t look at the problem, look at me. I’m bigger than the problem.

You know what God did? He wiped out that army. They didn’t even have to fight them. God wants to wipe out the things attacking you.

Our job isn’t to fight. Resist? Yes. Stand fast? Yes. But who’s the real warrior? It’s the Lord.

People always think, well, Jesus came as a baby in a manager.

He is coming back one day, and he’s not going to be a baby in a manger. He’s going to be riding a white horse, and there will be fire in His eyes.

Anything He doesn’t like going on He is going to burn it, right on the spot.

But you, He’s calling you to Him.

Here’s the thing that I want to talk about today. What you’re saying, you’re moving towards. What you’re speaking, you’re moving towards.

If this statement is true, why not start speaking it into your future?

What do I mean by that?

Let’s say you’re having a little trouble with finances. Why not start speaking, “I’m coming out of debt.”

Instead of looking at the stacked bills that are sitting on your desk and worrying about them. Start simple and say, “This is one of the last bill’s I’m going to get in the mail.”

I remember when I was a young man and Sharon and I got married and I got back from the army and we got a little over-extended with some things. I got behind on a bill once and they sent me a notice saying this is the last bill you’ll receive from us. I thought “thank you!”

They lied. They sent another.

Why not say, “I will overcome obstacles.” I know things will happen. They do. But I’m going to overcome them. I’m going to live a victorious life.

If I don’t like the job I’m in, a better one is going to come. And I won’t have to look for it too much. God will direct me. Or, I’ll get promoted. Or maybe God will get rid of the boss I have and get a better one. Or make me the boss.

Are you qualified? Are you working hard towards it?

I’ve worked for some mean bosses in my day. I never paid them any mind. I just did what I was taught to do. Pretty soon, they all liked me. I worked my way up the ladder. I never asked for a promotion. They just kept coming.

That’s what God will do because He will let you overcome all obstacles, whatever they may be. That’s what He wants to do.

How about, “I’m going to accomplish my dream.”

You have a vision of what you would like it to be, but it isn’t there yet. Just start saying, “I will accomplish that dream. I will be able to do this. I will be able to travel and see things. I will be able to go to the Grand Canyon and see it for myself instead of flying over it at 35,000 feet.”

I bet the view is better when you’re on the earth looking at it. But if you’re up 35,000 feet, it’s just like, “Oh, there it is.”

“I will.” Start saying that. If there’s something you want to do, say, “I will do that.”

Although I do remember one time, I really wanted a Corvette. I really did. They were sharp looking; they were fast. I liked speed back then. And it turned into Tammy. Then we had Amy and along came Eddie.

The Corvette just went bye.

I was watching a show, the Car Count, or whatever his name is and he was selling his ’63 Corvette Stingray to a couple, and it’s like, wow, I remember when those were $3,000. He was selling it for $125,000.

The Corvette never really materialized. But I always had a car. And it always ran. And it always looked decent, so I just moved from there.
What is your dream you’re looking for? Or something you want to accomplish?

I remember going through the cancer struggle the first time around. I lost my hair, my health, and things weren’t going well. All of a sudden, everything stopped. All my income, everything we were doing, just came to a stop.

I remember asking a person once because they were complaining about something. I said, “What would you do if all of your money just stopped, right there? You had no more income coming in. Hope you have a savings account. And it’s going to be that way for several months. What are you going to do?”

They started thinking. “Well, I sure don’t want to be in debt during that time.”

And I said, “No you don’t.”

That’s a problem because they still show up looking for their money.

What is it that is your dream? Maybe you’d like to see your whole family come to church. You’d like to know your family’s saved and going to church and that they’re looking to the Lord for the things and advice in their life.

Maybe that’s your dream. Be an intercessor for that. You can be. You’re tied with them. You have some authority there, and you can pray for them, and you can battle heaven for them that they can overcome stuff.

Here’s one I’ll share with you that’s one dream of mine.

When people visit our church that they’ll feel welcome and have an urge and urgency to hurry back. That’s one of my prayers. Not even to know why. Maybe they’ll just be driving by and think, “Oh, I’m going to go into this church.”  And when they leave, they may think, “Well, it’s nothing special, they make a lot of mistakes there in their music and their worship, the preacher coughs and stutters, I don’t know, there’s something about that place. I think I’ll go see it again.”

That’s what God does. He puts something in your heart and says, why don’t you try it again? Because I want you in church.

That’s who you come to see. The Lord. Through His Word, you learn from Him.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God.

Reading:

Mark 5:27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind him in a crowd and touched His garment. For she said, if only I may touch his clothes, I shall become well.

What was her focus? She heard about Jesus. She had an issue of blood. You can read about that; it’s been bothering her for many years.

She was a wealthy lady, but she spent all of her wealth trying to get doctors to help her. So, she did all she knew to do, but it wasn’t working.

Then she heard Jesus was coming. She had it in her head so strong, if I could just touch Him, touch his garment, I will be healed. What was she saying?

The direction she was going to go in. She kept saying it, she firmly believed it, and she went after Him.

We do this in our lives, where we’re going to go out and accomplish something. Then we show up to do it, and there’s an obstacle. There’s a crowd of people around Jesus.

She’s just a frail lady. How’s she going to get through this crowd of people? They’re all pressing in. What is she going to do?

She got down on her hands and knees and crawled through their legs. If you think about it, that’s the only way you can get through a crowd of people.

You’ve seen that on TV where you watch a program, and there’s a pile of people on top of somebody, and they’re all fighting, and someone crawls up from under them. That’s the only way you can move in a crowd of people like that.

So, she found a way. She cut through. She just reached out and touched Him, and she backed right out of there, as quick as she could.

But Jesus knew somebody touched him because virtue went through His body. So, he called her out and said, “What have you done?” She said, “Oh, I just wanted to be healed.”

I shall be made well. What you’re saying, you’re moving in that direction.

“I shall be made well” was on this lady’s mind. All she had to do was keep saying that and saying that “I shall be made well.”

She got up early that day, “I shall be made well.”

She started pursuing where the crowd was going to be and the path they were taking.

“I shall be made well.”

She kept pursuing it.

Finally, she got there, and there’s an obstacle of people surrounding them. How does she get through it? She didn’t say, “Oh, well, I tried.”

I hate that statement. I really do.

“Well, I tried, Pastor Ed.” Don’t try, do it. Succeed at something. I’d rather you fail than just say, “Well, I tried.”

No, go after something. And she did, she got her healing.

That’s what Jesus ended up telling her. Because you persevered, you’re going to get it. She was saying it over and over. “I’m going to get to Jesus; I’m going to get to Jesus.” And guess what, she got to Jesus.

Because that’s where her healing was. She knew that. That’s where the Holy Spirit told her, your healing is with that guy right there. Now, go get it.

She was hungry enough and wanted it bad enough that she was going to get it, and that’s what she did.

There’s another story in Mark I’d like you to go. Mark 10:50:  And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.  So, Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni (which means teacher), that I may receive my sight.”

In this story, it’s about a blind man that’s been blind all his life. He had heard the stories about Jesus.

When someone goes around healing people, raising the dead, casting out demons and doing all kinds of miracles, word gets around and people start showing up just to see. Hey, he’s in town, let’s go see.

Well, he heard about Him because of a lot of conversation. He sat by the road, so he was always hearing about what the travelers had to say. And He wanted to see.

He said, “Well, he’s done this for other people, why not me?”

Have you ever thought that way? “Lord, you heal other people, why not me?”

Remember before when I said that I was upset because I went through cancer and I lost my hair, I lost my church, I lost my health? I remember talking to the Lord about that. I said, “Hey why not me?”

I started confessing, I was going to get my hair back, my health back, and my church back. I was confessing that for three years. Every January.

You know how I make a new thing each year, I try to encourage you to do the same. That was my confession. That’s what I wanted. It took three years to get it, but guess what, I got it! That’s all that mattered.

In fact, I have a plaque in my office that Sharon made up because she couldn’t believe I did it. You’ve got your hair, your health, and not only…when I said church, I was careful how I talked about that because I was kind of insinuating, “a church,” any church would do.

Well, the truth is Jesus and I had a secret. I wanted my old church back. I didn’t want another one. I would take another one, and I would do my best at it, just like I would do anywhere. But I wanted the old one back. And He knew it. That’s the part that took three years.

The things I was saying, I kept working towards. I was doing things in the right way and didn’t even know it. Go move towards that goal by saying that, this is what I wanted from the Lord.

I didn’t share that with everybody at first. Don’t go out and blab your mouth, especially to your relatives, they’ll think you’re nuts. “You can’t do that.” “What makes you think you can conceivably believe that you can achieve when you’ve never done anything successful in your life?”

I’ve heard that. You’ll never succeed at that. You’ve failed at most of the things you’ve ever done. Like, “Here you go again.” Or how about this one? “Oh, you poor thing.” Do you ever get that? “Oh, you poor thing, it’s nice to have dreams and goals, but you know, bring them down a notch.”

You know what it is? They just want to keep you at their level. Because if you start to succeed in life, you make them look bad. In their mind, not yours.

You want to succeed, and you want them to come up with you. That’s what success will do. It will not only make your life better, but it will make the people around you better. Because you’re moving and that’s important, what you’re saying.

Blindness, sometimes, I think, overtakes us all and we just don’t see, and we just don’t know the right direction to go.

So, remember what you’re saying. Remember the words you’re speaking. You’re moving towards something. So why not say things that are going to be good?

I will find a new job that will pay me better.

You did that, put it on a prayer request card. It took a little while. Overall, it didn’t take that long. I haven’t even known you that long, but you got it. And isn’t that what you were after?

It turned out a little better than she even anticipated. And so many others of you in the room, same thing.

In fact, there’s someone in this room that keeps getting bonuses. Same job. They just keep getting an increase in their money. They’re going to do it again.

Now, when I said that somebody should have said, “I’ll take that.” Because why not you?

You’re moving towards it. Obstacles will happen. Crowds of people. That’s what happened to this blind man. He cried out to Jesus, verse 50, he’s on the road, He hears the crowd and he cries out to Jesus.

Right away the critics show up, “Oh, be quiet. Let’s not talk. You’re interrupting the master. He’s coming by. He doesn’t have time for you.”

You ever feel like that? Like you’re not worthy enough? Well, I’m here to tell you, you’re worthy.

God thinks you’re beautiful. God thinks the best is for you. He wants to give you the best and help you with the best. You’ve got a part to play. But already know that part’s taken care of. That’s why He went to the cross.

This crowd of people started to stifle the guy. “Oh, be quiet. Quit yelling.”

People can be so fickle because as soon as Jesus heard him, He said to the people around him, have that guy come to me. Then they go to him and say, “Oh, guess what, the master would like to talk to you.”

Now, they’re on his side because he’s going to go up to the Master. Aren’t people funny? But, that’s what they do.

And, the Bible said, throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.

So, Jesus said to him, what do you want of me? What do you want me to do to you? The blind man said, Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.

The interesting thing that he did. He knew Jesus was coming. He was preparing for this. His thinking was, “I’ll cry out to the Lord, Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.”

That’s what he was crying over and over. It was to take him in the direction he wanted to go.

The mercy was so that he could have his sight back. He wanted it. He wanted to see. And, why wouldn’t he? If there’s a possibility, go for it. That’s what he was doing. He didn’t know if it would work, but he was going to give it his all.

The reason I know he gave it his all is when he took his cloak garment and threw it aside once the Lord called him. The cloak garment was very special. It wasn’t just a regular coat; it had a patch on it. The patch on it was from the government that said he was legally blind; you could give to him.

He wasn’t an imposter; he wasn’t someone trying to be a freeloader. This guy could not see, and we know it. We gave him this patch so when he put that on, that was his livelihood.

Without that coat, he wouldn’t get any money. People wouldn’t give to someone without a patch. He threw it aside; he said, “I’m not going back, I’m going for this. I’m all in. Either this is going to work, or I’m going to die to try. I’m going for it.”

He went after the Lord. He jumped up and got to his feet.

I doubt if he jumped up very often, but he did that day. He was excited, and he said, I’m going after this. So, he threw the coat aside, he was leaving the past behind him, and he was going towards Jesus. His thinking was, “The healing’s coming today. Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” His words were, “Jesus, Son of David have mercy on me.”

Then his action was, he got up and went to Him as best he could. Probably stumbled a little bit, bumped right into him, but that’s ok.

His thoughts were, “I want my sight.” His words were, he was crying out to the Lord with all his heart, that’s why He heard him.

When you cry out to the Lord with all your heart, He hears you. Each and every time. His actions are what got him there. He took the right steps.

The results? He got his sight.

Oh, I gave up the security of the patch. I gave up my welfare check and got a job.

Oh, boy, you know we have a whole generation of people that would rather have a welfare check than to have a job? And we have some crazy president right now that’s trying to tell them, oh, no, no, no. Get a job; you’ll feel much better about yourself. And you can make way more money than you ever made on welfare.

It’s a goofy system because it traps.

Some of it’s good. Some people need help for a while, but not a lifestyle. That’s getting away from this.

What are you speaking? What are you seeking? Why not get to the better road? The higher road and do the things that God has called you to do.

Be an overcomer. Why not become an employer, not just an employee? I would like that.

Isn’t that a nice way to be, too? Now, you get to take care of a bunch of people, but it’s a good thing. You get to figure out the payrolls and the taxes and everything else, but that’s a good thing.

It takes you to another level. You always should be seeking to go to another level. Don’t stay where you are. Keep going, do the best you can with what you’ve got.

That’s what this blind man did; he kept moving in the direction of his sight because that’s what he wanted and who did he run into? Jesus. And that’s when he got it.

What obstacles are you dealing with today? What things are in your life that you’re battling with today? Could it be debt?

Decide today, “I’m overcoming this. I don’t know how exactly, my eyes are on you, Lord. Would you show me a way that I might get out of this mess I got myself in?”

And He’ll start doing it. All the sudden you’ll be driving down the road and you’ll listen to a radio program, and Dave Ramsey will come on and tell you five things you need to do to turn it around. And you’ll go, “Oh, where did this guy come from?” The Lord sent you a message.

Or maybe you need your health. And maybe as you’re going to the coffee shop and they offer you those nice creamy donuts, you go, “No, I think I’ll pass on the donut. I’ll have the bagel today.” That’s my reason. “Pastor Ed said, bagels are ok.”

Maybe you have to do a few things to help yourself. God will help you, but you’ve got to overcome some of it yourself by doing the right thing.

Maybe it’s a relationship you need repaired. Maybe it’s with a spouse. Start saying that things are getting better. We’re not going to fight like we did before. Those fighting days are over.

You keep saying it.

You keep believing it.

Eventually, you’ll find out; you can’t have a fight unless both of you are involved in it. One of you can stop it.

The Bible’s real clear on that one. Watch your mouth. It will help you, and then you can start overcoming and going back to where you were when you first met.

It’s interesting; they say the honeymoon lasts about two years and after that, you realize who you married. I’m so glad Sharon was blinded, she didn’t realize it. “Thank you, Jesus.” That was my prayer. “Lord, put a shield over her.”

What obstacles do you have to overcome? Maybe you’re smoking, and you’re trying to get rid of it. Smoking is one of the hardest things to get rid of. It’s a tough one.

I want one of the containers that you put cigarette butts out in by the door.

The thing is to show people that are smoking. I mean, don’t smoke in here, but they might be smoking all the way up to the front door. And that’s ok. I’m not going to tell them to stop. I want to get them to meet Jesus, and there’s a lot of people that are smoking, trying to break the habit. It’s a hard thing to break.

When you’re not a smoker, you can say, “Oh, what’s the matter with you?”

It’s hard, and I know people have struggled with it. But start saying, “This one of the last cigarettes I’m ever going to light up.”

Just start saying it. Speak it out loud. “This is one of the last cigarettes I’m ever going to light up.”

I don’t care if you just went 30 days and smoked a pack a day. “This is one of the last ones I’m going to light up.”

Eventually, I’m telling you, this works. You start to realize; I didn’t smoke today. What happened? Pack’s there.

Have you ever done that? When you grab the pack of cigarettes and threw them out? “That’s the last pack I’m going to buy.” Until you go the party store and buy another pack. Don’t raise your hand on that.

That’s what we do as people. But if you keep pursuing it, it will come. It’s like drinking or any addiction. Or drugs.

“This is the last time I’m going to drink.” Then you pour the beer down the drain and say, “I’m not drinking that anymore. I’m walking away from it once and for all.”

Well, until the Super Bowl when the guys come over, and we have another party. Then I have to be sociable.

We make excuses, don’t we? That’s because we’re people. But if you really want to quit something, keep saying it. “This is one of the last times I’m going to buy a fifth of booze.” Keep saying that and eventually, it will be. I’m telling you, it works. Maybe you’ll need to go to a counseling session or AA or NA or whatever it is.

Keep going.

Start realizing, if one person can get healed, I can get healed. They go to these meetings and you share your guts out with people you don’t even know, and when you get honest, for some reason, everything starts to work.

My daughter, who had to overcome alcoholism, told me she was at a meeting just the other day. She’s only been at it for 2 ½ years. I told her to keep going until the Lord tells you-you don’t have to go anymore. But until then, keep going.

She went in there and she said, “Dad, I could see it. A new person came in today and in their eyes, were hopelessness. I could see it.” She said, “Dad, I’ve been there and I never want to go there again.”

That’s what keeps her from not drinking. Seeing that person with the eyes of hopelessness.

They had to go out because the cleaning lady came late that day. They have a lady that comes in there to clean their house. They pay her well for it because they both have good jobs.

So, they don’t have time to clean house, so this lady comes in and cleans their house. The cleaning lady came late one day, and they had to go out to dinner. What an inconvenience.

They went to their favorite Mexican place to eat. It was margarita night. Margaritas for $2. All you can drink. Then she said, “Dad, I would have known it was margarita night. I knew something was wrong, the place was packed. Why are these people here?”

She found out when right away they asked if she would like a margarita. And she said, “Oh, that’s why the crowd. No, I’ll have water.” Because she knows she doesn’t want to go down that road.

She said, “Dad, I would’ve known it was margarita night and I would have been there, just a few years ago, I’m so thankful.” Why? Because she wanted to overcome an obstacle.  She kept saying I’m going to overcome this obstacle. Were there failures along the way? Many. But she kept saying and eventually, it happened.

Everything you do in life is one decision away. Once you make a decision that you’re going to do something, it will start to happen. But keep trying in the meantime.

Keep pursuing what you’re after. What is it you’re after from the Lord? What do you need from the Lord? Keep pursuing it. Keep saying it like it already exists.

Jesus said that God will speak things that are not as if they were and they become. I’m paraphrasing that a little bit, but you get the point, don’t you?

Speak things you want to see because it’s going to happen in your life. And your life is going to be successful. You are an overcomer through Christ our Lord. Those of us in this room are overcomers through Christ our Lord.

How many times have I coughed this morning? I coughed so much last night; I don’t know how Sharon got any sleep. I kept waking up the new puppy we have. He was barking at me like, “Would you shut up? I’m trying to sleep here.”

Here’s the thing, remember, what you’re saying you’re moving towards. So, watch yourself this week.

I’m going to ask you a question. I did a silly message a couple of weeks back when I said, “Pooey, pooey, be gone, Brown Bear.” How many ended up saying that this week? Wow, most of you.

Actually, don’t you find it works?

Sometimes you got to get a little silly just to make it real. Sometimes you need to do something silly just to break out of this thought that we’re not perfect people and God doesn’t want perfect people. He wants people with a perfect heart towards him.

If your heart is towards him, he will overlook a lot of stuff and take you places you’ve never been. He will answer your prayers so powerfully that it will amaze you.

How did that happen? I have solved problems many times that I know I wasn’t smart enough to solve. But just because I prayed about it, I gave it to the Lord. I said, “I don’t know what to do with this.“ He solved it. Or He sent Marc and Matt to solve it.

I didn’t want Jody to sing; he’s not well enough for that yet. Oh, he would have tried. That’s all I need, for him to keel over on the stage. That would look really good. Start coming to our church so we can knock you down. I don’t want to call an ambulance for the church.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, Lord I thank you for allowing us to be here today. I thank you for the time that we have been with you. I ask, Lord, that the Holy Spirit will remind us this week that the things we’re saying we’ll keep moving towards and that you, Lord, will give us the right things to say so we’ll keep moving towards the things that you want to be done. Then when they come together with the things we want to be done, major things are going to happen. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.