Location: PTP Spark 2019, Hot Springs, AR
Pray with me. Merciful God. We thank you for this day for getting us up this morning and getting us about as we stand before your people. Especially your man, the greatest people on earth. We thank you for the opportunity magnifying. Glorify your name in Jesus name, we pray. Amen. Those Children that he just spoke up. They came and with Aaron and His, wife and others. And they came and they made such an impression upon folks because they were memorable. Folks are not used to hearing Children say yes, ma’am, and no ma’am And yes, sir and no sir anymore, because a lot of Children are not raised in that fashion anymore. It’s old fashioned. It’s passe. It’s out of date. Children just say Yeah now and whatever. And when you have kids come up that actually show respect and humility and thanks thankfulness, stand. And you know, it made an impression upon a lot of the folks there on Capitol Hill. So, you know, the other part of that story is what a great impression Christian Children make whenever they go around people. I thank God so much for the opportunity to stand here this morning and to speak to you. And I hope and pray. That’s something that I say will be beneficial to you and lift you up in the most holy faith and strengthen you as we strive to do the things that God has commanded us to do. As men, I look around the brotherhood always, and I see men who have influenced me my whole life. I’ll see those who have taught me and at Freed Hardeman many, many years ago, many of them already going to meet their maker and going to their reward. But also when we see men like Brother, a Cuff and others who have been on the battlefield for so many years, what it does is, it tells us and tells me as I get older, and then I look at the younger preachers and the younger fathers and those who are raising boys right now, and it gives me encouragement as I decrease and watch them increase. And that’s the way the Lord won’t sit When God, When Moses was leaving this world, of course, he passed it on to Joshua, and God has always had men ready and prepared to do his work. I hope that we, as men, will continue to keep that in our mind as a paramount responsibility to prepare men for the next generation. Brother and sister Tina’s Garrett were both born in the late 18th century. They’re late 18 hundreds. I was very, very blessed to know them, and I was blessed to have them as my great grand parents. They looked like they were out of a storybook. They had moved to Memphis before I was born and bought property there on Mallory Avenue. My grandmother and my great grandmother and my mother and they had ensued to build three houses. One house was already there. Another house was almost finished. There was a duplex, and then my great grandfather built the house that that was nothing in that house you’ve heard me say before. Nothing that was plumb and square. As a matter of fact, you could probably put a marvel on one side of that house, and it was rolled to the other side of that house. But he was extremely proud of that house because he had built it with his own hands and he had had done the labor, and my great grandmother was extremely proud of that house, and she made some wonderful cobblers and pies. We had blackberries in the backyard right there in Memphis, Tennessee, a chicken house garden and all that stuff when I was growing up. The relevance of telling you this is Brother and sister Ennis Garrett Marianne Penis Garrett were both born in the late 18th century. They were both born as the Children, the Children of the Children of former slaves. They were not. That was not their claim to fame. As a matter of fact, they really didn’t want to talk a whole lot about it. When I started going to school and start learning a little bit about history, they didn’t really want to talk about that and they didn’t make a big deal out of it. And I’m not saying or taking anything away from the historical relevance of it. I’m just saying that as they raise their Children in their grandchildren, the one thing they talked about most waas, the passing, all of their faith, the fact that they had found the Lord as my great grandmother used to say the fact that they had learned what the church waas they were around when there was the contention between the Christian Church and the Church of Christ and they would tell us the history of that. They had a large family that sang together Ah whole lot. And as they passed their faith on to their Children, their grandchildren and their great grandchildren, they told us of those things we needed to know so that we would look toward the future. I was told all the time, Brethren that I was going to be a school teacher. My papa, my big papa, as I called him. He was a big old man with huge hands and grade nappy hair, and he plowed behind a mule for many, many years. He walked behind that mule and he would tell me as a boy, as me and my youngest brother, I was about six when he was born. So he was about three when I was about seven or eight years old and he would make the noises that he wouldn’t make that make the muse go right and left in the pool and the stop and all of that. And we remember laughing at him as he made those noises he had made a corn cob pipe and he let us look at it. He was whittled all the day. So I remember this old man, Big Papa, because of what he stood for and who he waas. He said, You’re going to be a school teacher. Boy, you’re going to be a school teacher because to him, ah, school teacher was the pinnacle off. What? Ah, colored boy at that particular time young man could be because he didn’t get a chance to go to school. He didn’t get a chance to read and to write. He had just a little bit of what he called learning. But he had learned that from my great grandmother, Mary Garrett, who was an extremely smart woman and well educated woman at that particular day. The reason I’m telling you all of this is because when Big Papa pass, I would go and stay with Big Mama at night because those three houses side by side, my great grand parents, my parents and my grand parents side by side, and they would send me up to stay with Big Mama, and I prayed every night. I have been in the church all my life. I was the original church baby brother, a couple sitting for because I was born when they were starting up. That particular congregation of congregation were Brother Keeble, brother coasting brother Stuart and many of those old preachers preach when I was a boy. And so I had always learned to pray. My daddy had started preaching when he got back from Korea. But when I started living a staying with Big Mama at night, Big Mama said, No, Nick, this is the way you pray And she made me get on my knees and she said on the other bed, because she had set me up a little bit on the other side of the room and she taught me this prayer, and I prayed that prayer every night. When I stayed at her house, she said, You pray like this. Now I lay me down to sleep, and I repeated it. I pray the Lord my soul to keep, and I repeated it. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Then I remember that I would pray for Big Momma and Medea and everybody the dog to Canton. Everybody after before I would get up from my prayer, but she would sit there and smile night after night when I would pray that prayer with her head about as though that was the greatest part of her day. The first version of this prayer is to believe to have somewhere appeared around 17 11. If we look in our song books and many of those Sacred point mes and readings and sums and hymns and spiritual songs that we sing and have enjoyed so much that have enriched our soul for so many years, what will find as many of them were written during times of conflict? Times of war? Ah, famine of depression at times when people were worried about where the next meal would come from or if there was a bomb going to fall on them. World War I World War two and were many of the songs. If you look at the dates at the songbook of the songs in your songbooks, you will see there were written around these times. This prayer and 17 11 was written in the mist of famine and was written in the mist of war to keep Children who don’t really understand, to give them a faith that will allow them to believe not just in God but believe in their parents and those who were surrounding them and giving them care. And I’m telling you, when I prayed that prayer, I felt so proud to remember it and then get up off my knees and look over at her and the proud smile, as though I had prayed for the world and saved the world during my prayer. A later version, similar to the present version, appeared in a child’s reader sometime in the late 18 hundreds, early 18 hundreds and a second verse to that prayer. Waas If I should live another day, I pray the Lord to guide my way in that amazing how at one time that nations that people, that we depended upon God and we talked to God because we understood that there were some things that we could not do for ourselves. I was talking to somebody recently, as I said there, and I listened as they went over and over and over about the things that we’re breaking them down and making life so terrible and how God had forsaken them and how the family had forsaking them and so on and so forth. And I told him I said, You need to prayer. Why should I pray? I said, Why should I pray? Who’s listening to God’s listening? I sent him What God’s hearing from you is someone who has not done their due diligence off. They were insulted for a moment, but then they said, What do you mean? So you don’t understand the deal? I said. God has always promised to be with us and care for us. He will never lead us, David said. The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not won’t that weren’t wanted. That context come from a Hebrew word, which means lack, he says. I’d like nothing when the Lord is my shepherd and David goes on through leading me about the steel waters and and restoring my soul and my cup running over. And even though I’m in the mist of bones who are enemies, that he cares for me, his Rod and his staff, they comfort me. When you look at what David is saying there, you’re listening to a man who at one time in his life had probably become just like this individual wanting to blame God for everything until they realize what God says. Contentment is not you making up your mind. Things aren’t going to change contentment. Is not you deciding? Well, I guess that’s the way it is. My cows are never come home a ship. It’s never going to rise. I’m never gonna prosper. I’m never going to get well. I’m never going to do better. That’s not what contentment is. That’s not at all what it is. Contentment is what I have done. Everything I can do. Then I turn it over to God who can do everything I cannot do. And my faith makes me leave it there. Take my burdens to the Lord and leave them there. Jesus had come to me, all of you, that labor in a heavy laden and I I the only one that can give us rest. Give us peace that goes down to your soul that joints the marrow of your bones and make you able to sleep at night without wetting your pillow with tears. The only person that can do that is Jesus. He’s the only one that can assure us that I won’t leave you I won’t forsake you. I won’t fail you. But I will always be there. So he said, Come to me, all of you. That labor, all of you that are struggling and just dragging through life. Just barely making it. The walking wounded, the walking wounded come to me, all of you that labor and are heavy laden. And I will give you I’ll give you relief. I’ll give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Take the burden I put on you because you will see my yoke is easy and my burden is light. What Jesus! I don’t let the world beat you down and force you to believe that you are a loser. The loss I came to say the least The last little and the loss That’s who I came to say when he stood that day and looked at that multitude of that group of people as he set down, made himself comfortable to teach and preach the most wonderful lesson that has ever been preached in the history of the world. Jesus changed the world with that lesson because he made us look at ourselves differently. Look at our friends, our family, our enemies our life out, prosperity out treasure. He made a step back from this big pile of goo body GAAP that the world puts in front of us and beats us down to nothing. Jesus, get rid of that stuff and you pick up my yoke and follow me. So when we were Children, we were Children. We prayed that prayer. We prayed that prayer and we smiled and felt so proud when we prayed that prayer, a World War version of that prayer became a little boy’s prayer as his mother and his father changed his mother, and that little boy changed that prayer when his big brother went off to war to France, it said. Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep God bless my brother going to war across the sea and France so far. Oh, may his fight for liberty save millions more than just little me from cruel fates and root was blast and bring him home. Father safe at last. Can you imagine a child in World War That prayer became so popular that they put it on posters all over the country, and so war buns for the war effort. Because of that prayer, that prayer was posted all over the country. Then it’s something how far we have gone from our roots. So where we were people who our own our knees, who put on our money in God, we trust in God we trust. As I came to Miss Riley’s class first grade, 1956 for the first time, as she said, Stan and she taught us the pledge and I remember her telling us, Put your hand on your heart. I probably put the wrong hand on. But she taught us in the first grade. Put your hand on your heart. I pledge allegiance to the flag and we didn’t say United States. Most of us were saying new 19 states of America. But the fact of the matter is, we said one nation under God, Oh, my goodness, how things have changed, how we have altered our mindset, how we have altered our beliefs, our faith and our trust toe where we have turned away from our real secret weapon, our secret weapon. While we have always had a wonderful military, our secret weapon, just as with Israel, has always been God. So when we go to Psalms Chapter four, the Psalmist, it’s interpreted as a prayer of trust, a petition for God’s care, a prayer of submission, a prayer of humbleness, a prayer of awe and reverence and Thanksgiving. And when we look at sums for and look at versus one where he says, Here may, when I call, Oh God, my righteous that thou has enlarged me and that weren’t enlarged Me come from the Hebrew, which means relieve me. You have relieved me just like I said. The Lord says, Take my yoke. Take the world’s yoke. The world’s burden off of you, the psalmist said, You have enlarged. May you have relieved me when I was in distress. Have mercy upon me and hear my prayer. What if we as Americans today? What if we got down and got our knees dirty and Rick Lee again petitioning the throne to grace the love, the mercy and forgiveness of a blown suffering and just God, what if, as a nation, we became a praying nation again? Notice versus eight of that same sums sums for, he says, I will both lay me down in peace and sleep. Why for thou Lord Onley make it me dwell in safety. He says I can rest now. Now I’ve given my burdens to you my problems to you Now I have petitioned your love. Now I have come before your throne. Now I can sleep now I can sleep men and women in this nation today with the psychosis and the insanity where we are a nation that has filled ourselves with medicine and peels so that we can just live another day. Folks get up every morning and have to do everything possible to maintain their sanity using medicine and peels and psychotropics just so they can face another day. What if they got on their knees and talk to the Lord? What if they took their burdens to the Lord and left him there? What if they called upon the one who has loved us from the very beginning other than medicating themselves over and over and over? When we look at verse eight of that sums when it tells us and it indicates itwas an evening prayer. It was an evening prayer. Folks prayed that prayer before they lay down in the darkness. Ever no street lights. There were no police cars. There were no blue light zones. There was no safety from thieves. This is why Jesus said to them as he talked to those least the last little in the los the ones that the Farris ease and others had called the losers of life. This is why Jesus said to them, lay not up for yourselves Treasures on this earth where moth and rust corrupt and thieves break through in steel he said, Lay up for yourselves. You be the people lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust duck corrupt nor thieves breakthrough in steel and as is the Lord says, placed the value of your life and the value of your future and the value of your eternity. Not on this earth, not upon this place. That is not your home. That you cannot stay, but place it in heaven where the Lord has gone to get the house ready for all of us. The Service road in sums Chapter three and versus five lay me down and sleep. I awakened for the Lord sustained me. He said the only reason I got up this morning was the Lord’s sustained me. Somebody said I didn’t originate this. And you probably have heard it before, Brother. A cuff and others. He’s somebody said If if you think the alarm clock woke you up this morning, try taking it to the cemetery because it was God that woke you up this morning. He touched you with the finger of love and your eyes open. And you realize that you’ve been unconscious for several hours and God let your body work and take care of you while you were asleep. That’s the moment you ought to say thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, God. Thank you, God, when you open your eyes and realize you get another day a lot of our brothers and sisters didn’t get another day. They didn’t get another day. I got to go home now to three funerals because of my folks. Folks who love me and that I have loved friends and neighbors who didn’t get another day. God gave you another day, another day. And when your eyes open, that ought to be your first prayer. A prayer of Thanksgiving. Thank you. Jesus is an amazing how we prayed as Children and we just knew We knew God loved us. We sang and we sang with passion. Sometimes when I stand after Sunday school with the little Children and have him come up front and sing is the most joyous part of the whole worship service because l saying Jesus loves me this I know. And I said, How do you know? They’ll say Father, Bible tells me so in that something of these Children, these Children that we wouldn’t go to for investment advice. We wouldn’t go to them for tax advice or for advice in business. But they can tell us with passion about the most important part of our lives. Our faith. Jesus loves me. This I know for the Bible tells me so and that something is we get stronger intellectually and intuitiveness because of education and our abilities in business, in academia. How we lose sight of that simple principle that the little babies No, that Jesus loves me. Jesus loves me. This I know farther Bible tells me so. Look to ones to him belong. I’m still a little one. I may be approaching 70 years old, but in God’s eyes who made the world who hunger son on nothing who put the moon in his place and flying the stars out into the sky. I’m still a little one, and I approached my father as a little one. Little ones to him belong. They are weak, but he is strong. Wouldn’t it be something if we went back to singing that and believing that the same way the Children do? The Children sing these songs and they mean them and they they sing joy. I have joy in my heart. How many of us have lost the joy in our heart? We have no more joy. We have allowed life to beat us down. We have allowed the world to turn us around, take our joy still, our confidence and make us believe we’re just living one day at a time, cross and tease and dotting I’s until we die. That’s not a good life. That’s not a good life. And if you’re living like that, you’ve lost the joy of being God’s child because that’s not what God wants for his Children. We, the Children saying God is so good. God is so good. How many of us have lost the ability to realize God is so good. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Jesus told us that were the light of the world. He told us We’re the salt of the earth. He said, Let your light so shine that men may see your good works and glorify. The father said, When you shine your light when you’re not walking around with your tail took your shoulders rounded and your eyes feel with tears, like you don’t know what you’re doing, he said. That bring in it type of credibility to me is your God and your father when you walk around like you’re just afraid to be alive. When Paul said to the Brethren in first Corinthians 15 and 58 he said, Be stand fast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord far as much as you know. In other words, it doesn’t matter what the world says. The world lies, Paul say. We walk by faith, not by fact, not by sight. The world said you pulled the world. Say your secret. The world say you’re outnumbered, you’re outspent the world, say you’re losing the world says you’re defeated post. We don’t walk by those facts. We walk by faith, faith in a God who don’t lose. Who said my word will not return to me? Void a god who said If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw Oh man unto me who commands us not ever to bounce before this wicket perverse world. Why in the world with God’s Children surrender surrender to a world that doesn’t recognize the power of its God? This is why Paul said. We walk by faith, not by sight, Paul says. Your labor is not in vain in the Lord Brothers and sisters we’ve got to go back to. He’s got the whole world in his hand. The Children know it. They’ll stand there and say He’s got the little bitty babies in his hands. He’s got the mamas and the debt is that they’re pointed the mamas and daddies in the audience. He’s got the mamas, and the dad is in his hands. He’s got the elders in the preachers, and if the Children know what, why don’t we know it when that we lose that joy and that faith that we forgot that God has the whole world in his hands when did it happen? When did the devil get in our heads so tough in egregiously in our head that he made us lose our faith when the Apostle Paul was talking to the Brethren and emphasis inefficiencies Chapter £6 that finally, brethren finally, brethren be strong in the Lord. And in the power of his might put on the whole I’m of God, that you may be able to stand stand against the wiles of the devil, Paul. Its essence is saying, the devil’s trying to get in your head. That’s what the word wiles means. He’s trying to figure you out. You’re too happy. I got a mess this up. Your family’s too joyous. I gotta miss this up. You too happy to be able to eat every day and put bread on the table. I got to miss this. You’re too happy with that woman that you played your life too. I gotta miss this up. You too happy with that man that stands strong as a Christian? I gotta miss him. I got to do something to mess your life up. That’s why Paul says you stand against the wiles, the tricks, the lives of the Devil Brothers and sisters when Jesus was preaching, and there’s no wonder that he got joy out of little Children in Matthew. Chapter 19. After healing and preaching to a shepherd lis multitude dealing with the creek, crooked and perverse, Farris ease tempting him on various issues. Marriage being one of them, as Jesus said that someone, the Bible says brought little Children unto him so that he could put his hands on them. As the Bible says Matthew, 19 and versus 13. They brought little Children unto him that he might put his hands on them and pray, and you know what the disciples did. But a whole lot of short sighted people do today. They shushed him away. Should Joe’s Children away and reboot them, The Bible says, I want you to notice Jesus. Statement. Jesus basically said what I’ll do it putting out doing What do you mean pushing these Children suffer? Allow permit the loo Children and forbid them not to come on to me? Why, Jesus for such is the kingdom of heaven. When you see these Children, you see what your father needs to see in you when you see their humility, their joy their kindness, that thankfulness when you see them in their dependence that they understand that they need someone to care for them and surround them with safety in love, he says. When you see these Children, you see what God needs to see in you as members of his kingdom. Well, no sign of that. We get big and strong and powerful. Don’t you realize that when Jess When? When the Prophet Nathan, when he came to Jesse’s house to find that king God rejected all of those folks who were more impressed with themselves than they were with their God, God wouldn’t found the one the young man out there keeping the sheep with ruddy a ruddy complexion out there playing his heart. That’s the one. God said this would donate the profits of this one. Yes, that one. That one. You’re looking at the outward appearance. I’m looking at the heart. How many times that we failed to understand that God looks at our hearts. Tell that Jesus is told by his folks. Don’t pray for the Children. No break for these Children. My brothers and sisters. You’ve heard me say it before, and I didn’t originate it Children are 100% of the future. They maybe 10 to 25% of the population. But folks like this young man sitting right there in the young men and women all throughout this building and classes. When the day comes when Brother B. Berry and others are someone that heard preach one day like I talk about brother Qi book like I talk about brother Holland, Brother Elkins Like I talk about brother Good pastor Brother Stuart and I could go on and on Brother Cates and others who are going when they come that they’re talking about us and I would legacy and what we did when we alive Boys like that boy and others have got to be the ones who have stepped up to keep the church going on. And this is the reason why we can’t beat like the apostles and like the disciples should stones Children backwards. We can’t let these Children come up here, for they are 100%. And if we don’t strengthen them and teach them and open their eyes and mentor them and nourish them and bring them up in the nurture An admonition of the Lord and train them up a force them up. Hey, God wants them brought up. Then what we’re doing is we’re planning a time bomb in the church in a world where the devil wants us gone, Peter said. The devil was that the serum? We forget that sometimes brothers and sisters, the apostles, the disciples were slow toe learn a vital lesson of Christ. Lightness, character, character, character. We have too many of us who are more concerned about our reputation. Then we are about our character. Too many folks are more concerned about how they’re perceived in the marketplace perceived in the Brotherhood. Precede the morning, the preacher’s perceived among the Elvis and Deacon’s. We’ve got too many of us concerned about the output appearance. Then we are about the character that God judges everyone of us by. It doesn’t matter whether or not you like me is not. It doesn’t matter whether or not I like you. We spend too much time on frivolous garbage, too much time talking about tail focus All the time. When I talk to young people, tell them there’s some things I could not choose. I did not get a chance to choose to be the son of John and Pearl DeBerry. That choice was made for me. I didn’t get a chance when I was born, February 5th 1951 and John Destin Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. When they put color on my birth certificate, I didn’t get a chance to choose the color of my skin. I didn’t get a chance to choose those physical attributes that identify me, but I get to choose. I get to choose whether or not I have a positive or negative attitude. I choose whether I’m a child of God. I choose if I have a spiritual mindset. I choose that if I’m faithful, are choose that when God looks in my heart. He sees a child of God who is humble and depend upon him and trusting him any day, and says every day that he wakes up every day that he wakes up. I need the I need the every hour I need thee. And if you don’t have a moment in your day, every day, every day, brothers and sisters every day. Oh brother myself in by the anchor for Brother B. J. Clark and other five ministers, the day will come when just like Paul and Peter and James and John and every other great man that has lived The day comes that we walk off to sea. And on that day, every person, just as Peter and Paul and James and John, all of them were telling him, You’ve got to stick together. You’ve got to stick together. You got to stand together, you’ve got to speak the same thing. You gotta pray for one another. The effectual fervent prayers off the righteous, James said in James, 5 16 avail it much prayerful one another. Forgive one another love one another. All of this foolishness that the world wants us to divide ourselves and become so arrogant and ignorant that we can’t fight a common enemy. And that common enemy is the devil. Some things you can’t choose, you choose if you’re going to heaven or not. You choose if you’re gonna live right or not, that’s what you choose, Jesus said. When the apostles, one time were acting off food, arguing, who’s the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? Who’s the greatest in the kingdom? Jesus told them, You’re better start acting like Children. On one occasion, New Chapter 18 verses 10 Jesus that two men went up to pray. One man acted like many of the man that I have seen in my lifetime in the Lord’s Church. He stood there. I think the I am not like other men are. Extortion is on just adulteress. Even this publican I fast twice a week. I give him my time’s own and on and on this man goes the lawn in his parabolic teaching said. In versus 13 of that chapter, he says the public and just stood a far off. Just stood off. I’m not worthy. He stood a far off and would not so much as lift up his eyes unto heaven. But he smote his breast saying, God be merciful, be merciful, Be merciful God To me, a sinner, Be merciful to me, a sinner. The problem is, too many of us have lost that child in us that trust, that humility that made us come to God. You have hurt me. Tell the story before my dad used to go to be jaded, Faras Hill Cemetery up their own Bellevue, and he would go in there at night, one of his jobs after he got back from Korea, watched the lock up the cemetery and dig graves. He sometimes let me sit on the side of the backhoe while he dug those graves. He was in school in daytime, had another job and did that in the middle of the night. And when I would walk through that cemetery, my daddy I would hold on to his britches. He could barely walk because I’m looking at the graves and I’m scared and I’m holding onto him for dear life. He said, Nick, don’t be afraid of the folks in here. So these folks pain body, he said. You need to be afraid of the folks when we go outside this gate said the info came Bother unique. They came by. But you know what? I had a trust in him that made me grab on to him, and I can see myself as a boy holding onto my daddy’s bridges. Lord have mercy. What if we held onto our daddies bridges today? What if spiritually, we looked up up to our God and we held on to his britches with everything we got and we wouldn’t let go. Nothing in this world would bother us anymore. Nothing in this world would frighten us anymore. And nothing in this world would ever make us quit.