When I start forgetting what God has given me,
it’s a little trick I’ve learned to
do to realize that I have everything.
Oh, yeah. You’re looking at a blessed man, a very
blessed man. I’ve got it all. I have everything.
And here’s how I get everything. I’m going to
teach you how to get everything in five seconds.
I can really convince myself, “Nobody loves
me. Everybody hates me. I guess I’ll go eat
worms. I guess I’ll just go over in my corner
and write one of my other little sermons.
Nobody loves me.” Then I go, “No. This is
ridiculous. What are you talking about?”
Not only have I been blessed with so
many things… I do an exercise where
I imagine the loss of someone I love the most.
You’re like, “That’s very negative.” No. Watch
where it’s going to get me, because it’s very,
very powerful. I imagine, “What if I lost Holly?
What would I give to have her
back?” Two hundred dollars?
Come on, man. Everything! I’ll kill you and take
yours, if I have to, to get her back. Everything,
whatever it takes. I’ll be Mel Gibson. I’ll be
Liam Neeson. I will storm through the gates of
hell. I would give everything to have her back,
and I have her now. So what do I have? Everything.
See how quick that was? I went from being
annoyed, being perturbed, just being all… You
know how stupid we can get when we get adjusted
to something we’ve had access to for too long.
We get acclimated to what’s
available, and then we become
unaware of how valuable it is because we
become too acclimated to what’s available.
So, when it says in verse 4… Oh, I have to give
you a little bit more about this. “Early in the
morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the
disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.”
I realized that their awareness had
not caught up with his thereness yet.
He was there. They weren’t aware yet. He was
no less there because they weren’t aware of it.
He’s standing on the shore, cooking fish,
getting ready for them to haul in some more fish.
They have plenty of fish. There’s going to be fish
today. But the one thing they couldn’t know in
that moment was that he was already there where
they were headed for, but there was something he
wanted to show them before they got there too.
So, I look at Jesus in this passage, and I
realize it’s one thing to look back over my life.
I see almost a sign hanging
over every open door in my life:
“Jesus was here.” I almost think of Jesus as a
graffiti artist. You know how they have a tag,
and they tag when they do it? Jesus does it
legally. I studied a little bit. The first
graffiti artist who was recognized for his
tag was named Cornbread. He was really cool.
He was in Philadelphia. He hopped over the
fence at the Philadelphia Zoo one time when
he was 17 and spray painted the side of an
elephant, and he tagged it “Cornbread lives.”
I look back over my life
now, and I see all of these
tags over not just the open
doors and the opportunities God
gave me but even some of the closed
doors that God didn’t let me go through.
Now I look back and see a tag
that says, “Jesus was here.”
I look back over some of the
relationships God brought into my life and
some of the ones I asked him for and he
said, “Not yet.” I look back over some
of the “already” blessings in my life, and I
see that, hey, God has already been working
on this for a long time for me. I mean, he has
already done so much for me. The more I access
the “already” blessings in my life… The
more aware I am of the “already” blessings,
the better I can deal with
the “not yet” questions.
To get in a space where you go, “Wait a minute.
Wait a minute.” Yeah, there are some things I
want God to add to my life, but being blessed
is not about what he might or might not add;
it’s about what I access that I already have.
Learning to access what I already
have is the process of gratitude.
Gratitude is the access point to joy.
That’s why I love my little exercise.
When I am unaware of a blessing,
I feel like it’s not there even though it is.
Read the Scripture. Jesus was on the shore.
They didn’t know it. He’s there. They’re not
aware. He can be there, but until you are aware
that he is there, it will feel as if he’s not.
So, the challenge of this season of my life,
as a grown man, is not to look back and say,
“Jesus was there,” but to stand in the middle
of my “not yet” and declare “Jesus is here.”
I have to tag it while I’m going through it
so I can hold to the truth in this
situation that what I will look back
on in my life in the next season and say,
“God was there,” he’s here in it right now.
His thereness always outpaces your awareness,
which is how you end up like my dad, and you go,
“I felt sorry for you.” “You felt
sorry for me? I feel sorry for you.
God was working on your dumb butt,
and you were too blind to see it.
God sent an arrogant little 17-year-old
punk wearing some Doc Martens
to tell you God is going to turn your
life around, and you couldn’t see it.
He was there. You just weren’t aware of it.”
How many of y’all have something you’re worried
about this week coming up in your life? I mean
this week. I’m not talking about when you turn
94, and will there still be Social Security,
and will Biden still be president or somebody
older, but something this week. All right.
God is going to beat you to it.
Let me get more specific. Jesus is already there.
“Oh, that’s so nice. Imaginary
Jesus is already there.
This is the problem with you Christians. You
have this imaginary friend named Jesus who you
think is going to work everything
out for you.” It’s not imaginary.
For me (I don’t know if you
could say the same thing),
I have more proof that he has been there for
me than almost any other person in my life.
So, if you wanted to convince me that God wasn’t
real, you should have done that a long time ago,
because you’re a little late. I’ve already seen
the ways he has made for me. I’ve already seen
the things he has brought me through. I have
already seen him bring water from a rock.
You can’t make me doubt him because I
know too much about him. I already know.
I’m not studying a book to find out if he’s
real. I’m not waiting on a scientist to bust
open a molecule or split an atom to tell me if
Christ lives. I’ve got the tag over my life.
Jesus lives! If you know he’s
alive, shout “Hallelujah!”
Come on, give him an “already”
praise. What’s an already praise? It’s
when I praise him in a “not yet” situation for
a blessing that he has already pressed down,
I think we need to recognize the
connection between appreciating
our “already” as we anticipate our “not
yet.” This is the greatest skill God
can give you to help you fight depression,
distraction, discouragement, and temptation.
See, when you stay in “not yet” and forget your
“already,” you go running after stuff that is
less than you because you got tired of waiting
on something that was not yet ready for you,
but when you know who you are, when you know what
you already have, when you know who has already
chosen you to be his, called you by name, sealed
you with his Spirit, adopted you as his child,
you can stand in your “already” and say, like
Paul, “I don’t have it yet.” I love that word.
I went to therapy, and my therapist taught me
how to say that word. I’m serious. It helped me.
I would say, “I just can’t figure it out,” and
the therapist would interrupt and say, “Yet.”
It got on my nerves. I said, “I’m not paying
you to correct me. I said I can’t figure it out,
and I haven’t figured it out,” and
the therapist would say, “Yet.”
Every time they said, “Yet,” it took me back
to how many things God had already done for me.
See, my “already” gave me the balance for my
“not yet.” That’s why I want you to imagine
things being out of your life that are in your
life so you can get back in your “already.” I
drove up to the church today, and I was like,
“Oh man! This church… We have so much debt.
We just have to pay off all our debt. Oh,
wait. No, God already paid off our debt.”
Now do y’all see why I’m in such
a good mood preaching today?
I preach really good with no debt on my back. It
didn’t get paid off in those five minutes before
I came out to preach to you. I just recalled
it to my mind, and I accessed the “already”
so I could move ahead into the “not yet.”