So listen, I don’t know about you, but I am a movie-goer. I absolutely love the movies. So when COVID hit, it was terrible, terrible, terrible. I couldn’t get to the movies. And I know with the prices, you know, some of you know, you’d rather, you know, not go to the movies. But for me, it was what I needed. You know what I love? There were the snacks, it wasn’t even really all about the movie. It was about the snacks. The popcorn with extra butter. Right. The whoppers, the jujubes, the Milk Duds. Right. The raisinets that’s how you get to health. And I tell Pastor Cory that all the time. I eat raisins. I eat the chocolate-covered Raisins. Right. Right? The hot dogs. But what got me was the coke slushie. That was it for me. Yes!
But now most of the movies come on TV, you know, you got the smart TV that would talk back to you and all that stuff. It comes on the TV. I’m very upset about that because guess what I have to do now, all the work. I have to pop the popcorn. I have to prop myself up because I don’t have the recliner chair, and you know, in the movie, they got the thing for your coke soda. So I ain’t got that. Right. And Kalia goes and quits on me you know she’s going off the collar soon. I don’t even have the person to help me get to my seat anymore and hold a little flashlight. I’ve got to do everything myself. It’s a big production.
But one of the movies I absolutely love is The Wizard of Oz. Yes. You remember that movie? And I’m not talking about the one from 1939 with Judy Garland. I’m talking about the one with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. You know, the soul, the one with a little bit of soul in it. Well, they tell you, ease on down, ease on down the road. Right. You know, we electric slide down the road in that one, that’s the one I was talking about. But think about the characters. Where were they trying to go? They were trying to go to Oz because they needed something. What did Dorathy need? She wanted to get back to Aunty M. Tell me, do you know what the scarecrow needed? He needed brains. What did the Tin Man need? And guess who? My main man. My dude. I brought him with me. I wasn’t going to disappoint yall. What did the lion need? He needed some courage. Listen to the low roar. Oh, wait and hold on. It’s okay, baby. You hear me? He had a little roar about him, but he wanted courage. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. How we can be like the lion and not go to Oz, but go to God for our courage in any storm. Or any situation that we are going through.
Now, I’ll tell you something. It takes courage to do a couple of things, and I’m going to read off some things for you. It takes courage to apply for that job, it takes courage to move to a new area. It takes courage to meet new people. Some of you that are our first-time guests, you heard Pastor Corry say come on out in the lobby and tell us your story. You said, not me, but after you hear this message, you’re going to go out and have courage and meet so many new people. And I’m gonna tell you, we’re going to love you with the love of the Lord here at Community Church.
It takes courage to ask her to marry you. It takes courage for her to say yes. It takes courage to go after the college of your choice. It takes courage to join that team, whether it’s football, basketball, or the debate team. It takes courage to go to the doctor. And for me, the dentist, it takes courage. It takes courage to return the doctor’s call. When you get that call from the doctor, you know how it is when they call, and they just say, give us a call back. It takes courage to pick up the phone and call them back. It takes courage to begin after a divorce or a failed relationship. It takes courage to move after a loss.
The definition of courage is this, the ability to do something that frightens one, strength in the face of pain or grief. There’s going to be times in your life, my friends, that someone’s going to say to you, you need to take courage, and you need to take heart. That happened to me about 18 years ago. I moved down here in the Poconos. You know, I’ve come from New York, I’m from Queens. Some of you know my story. There’s lights in Queens. Lights that light up all day long in Queens. Well, you hear that? You know, New York is a city that never sleeps. We don’t. Right. But I moved down here. There’s no lights, there’s no sidewalks, there’s no bodegas. They stay open 24 hours a day. Y’all even messed me up with the Walmart. Yall know Walmart was open for 24 hours a day. And some of y’all going in here to 1:00, they shut it down now. There’s no dollar vans. You know, you can get where you need to go with the dollar vans that you stand on that certain corner and toot toot. You got to pay your dollar. We don’t have that here.
So as I was moving down here, my mama told me that she said, listen, I need for you to know that you’re going to be okay and that I got you. And I’m only a phone call away. It took courage to take that step to move. Some of you, it took courage for you to get up here this morning to come to church. You could find any reason why you could have stayed home. The kids in the back of the car. They fussing and carrying on about who ate the last of the Froot Loops. There’s no milk. Your husband didn’t fill the gas tank up. You putt, putt, putt all the way here, right? Somebody in your seat at the church. They must be a new person because they know I sit here every single Sunday. It took you courage to come in here this morning because anything could have kept you at home. But I promise you this. You’re here for a reason. Don’t look around and figure out who didn’t come this morning.
My momma used to tell me this. Who was supposed to be here, will be here. And you were supposed to be here. Perhaps there’s somebody in here right now. There’s faith in a health issue. I need you to take courage. Somebody right now heard over the weekend that their spouse wants a divorce. Somebody broke up with you via text. There’s a friend that you know that was talking about you and told lies about you. I need for you to take courage in a storm. I need you to take courage in the struggle. And I need for you to take courage in the fire. It’s going to be okay. And I’ll tell you why.
I have five reasons why we can take courage. Now, if you’re taking notes, I want you to write this down. The first one is because God himself is with us. He is with you, and he is with me. It says this in Joshua 1:9. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened. And do not be dismayed for the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.” Right. Wherever you go. In Deuteronomy 31:6, it says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them. For the Lord, your God goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.” We can take courage because we are in faith, in any challenge, any struggle, any storm by ourselves.
Now it is good. And we can say it right. We can read from God’s word. But its ‘am I walking in it’? Do I believe it? And I’ll tell you how when you don’t believe this is what happened. Somebody come and tell you something. You collapse right away. Your knees get weak. I need for you to find the Scripture, to speak to whatever the storm is going on in your life right now. And I need you to lock in your knees and stand still and know that God’s word is going to give you the courage to get through what you need to get through.
You have to take courage to take this journey, this walk. It’s not easy. We’re going to talk about trials and tribulations. God’s word said that they will come. You will suffer something. But it’s all about the courage. You got to know who had your back. You remember you was in elementary school and your fight was about the break out, and had your little best friend and she tell you, I’m just going to say her name was Melissa. She said, Don’t worry, Deidre, I got you. Now you know which friend got you in which friend don’t. When the bully comes out, they’re halfway down the block, right? Halfway down the block, and you got to fight the fight. And mind you, they were the ones said, you know, why would you go ahead? I got you. They ain’t going to mess with you. They half halfway down the block.
But then you got the friend that will be right there with you. I’m going to tell you who that friend is. That friend is Jesus, right? Sometimes. Right. We lean too much on our friends. But I’m asking you if whatever this storm you walking through this morning, I need for you to know that Jesus sees, he knows and he already cares. And so you got to know that he’s with you. He said this. He said that he will not leave us nor forsake us. I want you to know something. The challenges are going to come. And when you don’t know what to do, Jesus does. I’m going to say that again for the people who are back on the left hand side where, you don’t know what to do, Jesus does. I don’t know what to do. A lot of times you turn to me, you turn to your friend. I’m going to tell you that you turn to Jesus because he knows what to do. Jesus sees around the corner. I can’t see around the corner. I don’t know what’s about to come. But he does. So you don’t know what to do. Know that Jesus does.
The second reason why we can take courage is this; because God has a plan for us. It says in Jeremiah 29:11, for I, not your mama, not your daddy, not a sister, not your brother, not grandma, not grandpa, not Auntie G, not Uncle Jim, not cousin, second cousin, third cousin. He says, for “‘I know the plans I have for you.'” Not your husband, not your kids, not auntie, not Grandma Nam, not your neighbor Nam. He said, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,'” Deidre “declares. The Lord ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.'” Who wouldn’t want that plan? He also says in Philippians 1:6, it says “Being confident of this, that he who begins a good work, a good work in you, he will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” So what that says to me is that God don’t make no junk.
I don’t care what somebody spoke over your life and told you what you would never be because you had the kid before you got married. Your whole life is going to be a mess. You didn’t finish college. You’ll never be able to be anything. What does Gods word said? He that begins a good work. A good work. Not a bad work. A good work. And you? He will see it to completion. So I don’t care who don’t believe that I will get what it is that God said about me. I trust His plan. Think about how you plan working for you. How your plan working for you? Who would you rather have, think about this? You know how like you putting something together. Would you rather have the instructions or no instructions? Now for me, I rather have the instructions of what I’m trying to put together because you will be there forever. Going around in circles, in circles, in circles because you don’t have the instruction. God is the master carpenter of your life. He has every instruction. He knows every detail. He knows every turn you’re going to take. So please don’t think that situation that you got into that don’t nobody else know. God already knew you were going to go through it. He already prepared because he knows the plan that he have just for you.
My divorce didn’t take God by surprise. It might have took me by surprise, but it didn’t take him by surprise. Right. That fall that you took, it didn’t take God by surprise. They might have took you by surprise. The girlfriend who wasn’t really your friend, who turned on you a lot. It didn’t take God by surprise. Just took you by surprise. The school that you didn’t get into, that you really thought that you should get into. It didn’t take God by surprise, but it took you by surprise, for he knows the plans that He has for you. You have to take courage and trust God’s plan. You have to take courage in trusting.
If your plan ain’t working for you, what else are you going to do? What else? I will turn to the Lord and say I surrender my entire life to you. Don’t matter who or what they say. I don’t care what you call me. I surrender my life to you.
God has a plan for each and every one of us. And He will fulfill that plan because that’s what his word said. He would bring it to completion. So even though you can’t see what’s ahead, he sees it for you. I’m asking you to continue to take courage and walk on that yellow brick road that’s in front of you. We all have our own yellow brick road that we must walk on. Your road and my road are two different roads, so never look to your left and to your right to try to see what your neighbors are doing. Stay focused on where you’re going. Doesn’t matter what they’re doing. Doesn’t matter. God has a plan just for you.
Have you ever gone somewhere and you didn’t have instructions? You know the direction. Men do this all the time. So I’m talking to the men right before fathers day. Father’s get this right before fathers day. It’s okay to use the G.P.S. It’s okay to ask for directions. And that’s what God wants you to know. It’s okay to ask him for whatever it is that you need. It’s okay to go to God for guidance and wisdom. It’s okay when somebody say, Hey, can you do this? Can I pray first? Can I pray first? Is okay, pause for a second because a lot of times, we say yes when we’re supposed to say no. So it’s okay to go to God in prayer. Don’t make people feel like, ” Oh, everytime I try to ask Deidre to do this. I just asked if she want to go to a movie. She say let me pray about.” Yeah, because maybe that wasn’t for me that day. Maybe that wasn’t what I’m supposed to do. It’s not something that I’m just saying? But really, God may be holding me up for something. Somebody might have needed me. I may begin to answer about something. He’s like, I don’t need that distraction in your life right now because I got you on your yellow brick road. So we know that God can, we can take courage because we know that God himself is with us and that God has a plan for us.
And point three, because Jesus has overcome the world. It says in John 16:33, ” I have told you these things so that in me, you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble.” So let me say this for those of you whose knees buckle, it says in this world that you will have trouble. “But take heart. I have overcome the world.” So take heart. Trouble is going to come on the job. Trouble is going to happen at school. Trouble is going to come your way. But you gotta take heart and know who got my back. Remember that good girlfriend you got? She got your back. The one who will never leave you. That’s who God is for you. So when somebody says something about me, I don’t crumble anymore. Oh, I used to fall out and cry and be so heartbroken. That’s not what God says about me. So it’s okay. I know who got my back. I know who has me. So you can say what you want. It’s okay. I’m good.
It says also in 1 Peter of 5:10, “In his kindness, God called you to share in His eternal glory. By means of Christ Jesus. So at that, you have suffered a little while. He will restore support and strengthen you. And He will place you on a firm foundation.” A firm foundation. So we shouldn’t be surprised by it. Trouble is going to come, and it’s going to be a little bit scary. But I promise you this, that if you stand, and what you need to do for yourself is high God’s word in your heart. Because I’m going to tell you something. You can fight with that. You can fight with that all day long. When somebody is saying things against your name and talking about you, just say God’s word. When somebody’s lied upon you, you ain’t gotta say anything to them because the battle doesn’t have to be yours. It will be the lords, and he will take it for you. A lot of times, we’re in things and in situations. We’ve got no business being in. He said I need for you to stand on my firm foundation, not your shaky ground. Not your shaky ground. Stand on my firm foundation. I got you. I promise you, you won’t fall because I got you.
We shouldn’t be surprised if we look, you know, in the world today, just even what happened and how we just said that prayer for that shooting that took place in Texas. That rocked my soul. But one thing that I went to, was to God’s word. And he said this in Psalm 34:18, “the Lord is close to those who have suffered disappointment. He saves those who are discouraged.” It also says in Psalm 147:3, “He heals their broken hearts and bandage their wounds.” God knows, and he cares. We can take heart. We can take courage. That Jesus is greater. Then the world. And he has already overcome it. Nothing in this world can defeat our mighty conqueror. He has overcome the world for us, for those he redeemed. And this is what the definition of Redeem says for the in the Bible, that they have been saved or delivered from sin or its consequences. Think about it this way. There is nothing that you have done that will surprise God. There’s no situation. That you have already hidden in the closet and feel like you ain’t gotta tell anybody God already knows. There’s nothing that will keep you from his love. Nothing. I don’t care what your second grade teacher told you. That you’ll never be and you’ll never have. I don’t care what the Sunday school teacher told you. That you all were just going to be the devil. I don’t care what anybody says. Know and have courage, to whom you belong to, know that he got you.
We know that we can take courage because we know that God himself is with us. God has a plan for us. Jesus has overcome the world. And this point, number four, because nothing can separate us from God’s love. Nothing. No situation, no addiction, nothing can separate you from God’s love. It Is said of his word. Romans 8:35, it says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” It says this and Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ. Jesus, our lord.” So you lost a job? The marriage did not work. The friends left. You lost the home. Everything around you seems like sinking sand. But what his word said, that there is nothing, nothing that will keep my love from you.
See, I may be a fair weather friend, but Jesus is not. I may love you if you’re kind to me on today and not be kind to you on tomorrow. Some of us we have a price for our love. If you do this, then I’ll love you. If you do that, then I’ll love you. That’s not the way it is with the Lord. There’s nothing. That will separate you from God’s love. And you need to know that. And he who loves us. Let me tell you this. You need to take heart that when he loves us, he protects us. He provides for us. He guides us. And he helps us. Nothing in all creation can separate us from his love. Whether we lose our job, our homes, or our health, or even our mind. Jesus will hold onto us, and he will love us, and he will never let us go. So I need you to take courage in that you are not alone. I don’t care how many people have gone and left. You need the one, and that is Jesus. And when you have the one promise, you have everything. You have everything. Oh, I wasn’t worried off of getting no claps for that because some of us feel like, no, I need him. No, you don’t, you need Jesus. I need her. No, you don’t, you need Jesus. I need them. No, you don’t, you need Jesus. And I promise you this. When you have Jesus, he’ll bring the him. He’ll bring the her. He’ll bring the them. And they’ll bring the right ones that are supposed to walk on your yellow brick road with you.
We can take courage because we know that God himself is with us. God has a plan for us. Jesus overcome the world. Nothing can separate us from God’s love. And the last reason we can take courage, and I need you to hear me on this because God himself will strengthen us. It says this in Isaiah 12:2, “Behold, God is my salvation. I will trust and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my soul, and he has become my salvation.” It says in Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not for I am with you. Be not dismayed. For I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” It says that feeling distress or anxiety, typically by something unexpected. There’s nothing that happens that is new to God. He already knows what is going to happen in your life. It might have been unexpected to you, but it wasn’t unexpected to him.
That’s why you always need to stay plugged into the source because when you’re plugged into the source, you have everything you need. Think about it. When your phone, some of you who don’t, I’m going to be talking about me, so I won’t tell Pastor I was talking about ya’ll. When your phone is not charged. Some of us lose our mind. Because the phone is about to die, right? No, seriously, you lose your mind. Oh, my God, I only got 5%, oh, my God. Right? But if you stay plugged and you kept your phone charged, what would happen? Your phone would stay charged. You would have all the power you need. That’s the same way you need to act. When you feel like you’re weak and you’re weary, you need to know that. You need to plug in to the Lord, the same way you think that phone has as much information that you need to keep you going. That’s what his word has for you.
So if you stay plugged into Jesus, I promise you things will not take you by surprise. Because guess what? I already have this structure for your life, Deidre. On this day, at this moment, this is going to happen. On this day, at this moment, that’s going to happen. And you stay plugged in. Stop walking around, you all weary, not knowing what to do. We’ll pray for you, and the prayer team will pray for you. But I’m asking you to learn to pray for yourself. Learn to pray for yourself. I don’t have anything special. I’ve got to go before the Lord. Just like you go, got to go before the Lord. You know how Batman had a Bat-phone? I don’t have no Bat-phone, I don’t! I got to get on my knees and cry and weep and wail like everybody else. Like everybody else.
Try for yourself, and I promise you, you will stay charged. You would stay in sync with the Lord, get courage. And even picking up your Bible, making the time, it takes courage to tell somebody, give me just a second. I got to finish reading this word. It takes courage just to tell the kids, Listen, give me a minute and close your door and cry out to your God. It takes courage to get up a little bit early in the morning and make time like Pastor Corey was talking about last week. Taking time to be in the presence of the Lord. That’s what we did on this morning. And I promise you, when you take that time, it’ll give you all the power, give you everything that you need to carry on for that day. For that day.
It says this If you don’t think you have enough strength to make it through your situation, your storm, your struggle, your fire. Well, guess what? You’re absolutely right. You don’t. But you know who does? The Lord, you need to plug into him. I learned this when I was a little girl. I learned about this song, and it would say if it had not been for the Lord, where would I be if it had not been for the Lord? Where would I be? He kept my enemies away. He let the sun shine through a cloudy day. Oh, he wrapped me in the cradle of his arms when he knew I had been battered and torn. If it had not been for the Lord on my side, where would I be? Where would I be? Where would you be? Where would you be if it had not been for the Lord on your side? Where would you be? Think about the situation that you’ve been in. Who you think got you out that situation? Jesus. Who? It was Jesus. That’s who got you out the situation when you. We don’t have no power to part the Red Sea, but he does. We don’t have the power that he has, but he does. And all he wants us to do is to plug in. I need for you to take courage to take this walk.
Imagine you looking down on the edge of a cliff. It looks like a long fall. I need you to take courage and know that you are tied to an immovable tree and anchor who will not let you fall. Do you know that anchor? You know, when they throw the anchor on a boat, how it just it pulls it. It holds the boat. So nothing has to move. They have to roll the anchor. Anybody been on a cruise? Don’t act like ya’ll haven’t been on the boat, ya’ll hear me preaching right here, right? And when you go on a cruise, when they start ringing it up, right? And they put the little anchor back. The boat goes off, but let them let the anchor out. Boom. It just stops. That’s what I’m saying. God is your anchor for any situation, any storm that you have, you don’t have to hold on to anybody. Just hold on to the Lord unchanging hand. Because I’m fair weather. I’m fair weather, and I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. I don’t know. But Jesus is not like that. He got you.
It takes courage to come to church. It takes courage to share your story. It takes courage to trust and believe something you cannot see but you can feel. It takes courage. It takes courage to be a part of a community group. You hear us talking about that all the time. And I know you probably think that’s just what they say every single week. No, I’m to tell you the truth. I’ve been at Community group for 17 years, and it took courage for me to tell my story. But guess what? There was somebody else in that group that was going down the same yellow brick road I was going down. And guess what? She was able to help me. Speak life into me. Pray for me. Cover me. Wipe my tears away. So sometimes you think that we want something for, no you got a story that needs to be shared with somebody that’s in there. They need to hear of what you’ve been through that can help them. It takes courage to say that you’re sorry even when you didn’t do anything, but say it anyway. The weight that is lifted when you say you’re sorry and you’ve moved on from whatever that situation is, it takes courage to forgive. But it’s good medicine for your soul. Good medicine. Because think about the things that we’ve done. Think about the things that we’ve done if God had not forgiven us. So it’s good to forgive. It takes courage to make a move. But I need for you to take that step. God’s got you. He got enough grace for you and is stored up just for you.
Let me tell you, something Gods got a warehouse full of grace, and it says this second Corinthians 12:9, it says, “But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you…” God’s grace is sufficient for you. And for me, it is. So stand on that. Know that God’s got you. He got your back. I need for you to take courage and walk in who you are and who God has called you to be. I don’t know the plans He has for you, but he does. And walk in that and trust it. And I don’t care, whatever. But what they call, Kalia would tell me the name. We say naysayers, but the kid’s got to know. I forgot it already. I had it ready for y’all. But whatever the naysayers may say to you, walk-in who God’s called you to be. Oh, there you go, baby. Haters will look at you. There you go. Don’t worry about what the Haters. Hey, y’all see how I got my little thing going when I found out that word? No matter what the haters say? What does he say about me? What did he say about me? So you can say whatever you want to say about me. I know some of you are saying something wrong with her shirt, seem like it’s tilted on the side. No, that’s the way it’s supposed to go, see what I’m saying? I ain’t worried about it! I ain’t worried about it, right? I’m not worried about it. And that’s what I need for you.
Somebody is always going to have something to say, but you got to know to whom you belong to and you got to take courage when you walk out these doors today. You got to take courage when you go to the job tomorrow, and the same people that’s been talking about you, you got to take courage when you go to school and the bullies hoping that you back down, you got to take courage and know who has your back. Jesus has your back.
Let’s pray. Lord, God, we thank you so much for this opportunity to be in your presence. God, we welcome you in this place, but not only in this place, but in our lives. We thank you, Lord God, that you know the plans that you have for us and those plans are not to harm us, but to give us hope and a future, we want to walk in that future, lord God. We thank you, Lord God, for Your Grace is sufficient enough for each and every one of us. We thank you, Lord God, that you would never leave us and not forsake us. Because that’s what your words said. Father, God, give us the courage to stay plugged in at all times, no matter the storm, no matter the struggle, no matter what’s going on, Lord God. But that we would seek you first your kingdom, let your will be done in our lives and in the lives of those that we love. With every eye still closed and bowed, there may be somebody that has decided that I’m going to take courage to let God be the author and finisher of my life. This has not been working out for me, but I will allow God to be all that He needs to be in me. If that’s you, I want you to raise your hand so that I can pray with you. How’s it been working for you? Take this time. It takes courage to say yes to God. It takes courage to walk the way that He wants you to walk. But you raise your hand, and all hands are still going up. Keep the hands coming up because I want you to say this, Heavenly Father, I thank you, Lord God, that on this day, I was in your presence. Today, Lord God, I give my entire life over to you. I believe that you died for me and rose again. I thank you, Lord God, that I had this opportunity to say yes to you. My life is no longer my own. Whatever it is that you’ve called for me to do, I will take courage and have obedience and walk in it. Father, I thank you for loving me so much in spite. Of me, god, you are mighty, you are loving, you are caring, you are Almighty. And I thank you that you are my anchor and that I can hold on to you no matter what comes. It’s in Jesus name. We pray, Amen.