TRANSCRIPTION | Sunday, January 3, 2021 | Hindsight is 2020

 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Is anybody glad to be in church in 2021? Come on somebody. My goodness, what a year, what a year it has been. Why don't you, as you're being seated, they’re moving the pulpit in place, look over somebody and let them know you are in the right place at the right time, on a Sunday morning. It is so good to see you. We realize for some of you, it may be your very first time at 3trees, what an honor to have you with us. Maybe for others of you, this is your second, third, maybe even fourth time you're contemplating 3trees becoming your home church. Man, what an honor to have you with us. We would love to get connected with you. If you go to 3trees.com, you're going to find there's a connection link there, just a few simple things you can fill out. And it'll help us to be able to help you take that next step with God and getting connected with the church. You know, some of you may notice this morning, I've got a bandage on the side of my face here, Mandy finally had enough. Actually, I was in the garage, and I don't know, something happened. All I know is I didn't make a mistake.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You guys have been doing an amazing thing in our community, across the region, even globally. Our church, we exist for one reason, above all else, and that is because everyone needs Jesus. We're doing our best to fulfill that vision in a three fold way; seek the lost, make disciples, meet needs. Over the course of the last few months, you guys have fed over 3500 people in providing them with meals, some coming on site, most of those being delivered to people who needed the help and the assistance. You guys have planted a church in China a couple of weeks ago, and I have another meeting this week over the phone to discuss planting another church in China before the end of this month. It is a nation that desperately needs God. And the persecution is ramping up there on the churches that are present. And as of right now you guys have placed 26 churches in that country already. And we're believing it's going to be 27 by the end of this month. And those folks are risking their life to gather together under the banner of the blood in the name of Jesus. So I just want to say thank you for making it happen. I was thinking back over Christmas, and when you guys hundreds of families were assisted, and we're able to know that Jesus loves them and 3trees does as well.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And I also began to think about how that, you know, when we move out of Thanksgiving, we move out of Christmas, that those are times when we're heightened in regards to a mindset and a heart towards generosity, but we are not done being the hands and the feet of Jesus, there is much more to be done in South Central Kentucky and beyond. And so today, if you think about giving, if it's something that the Lord leads you in your heart to worship Him in that way, there's giving stations set up around the facility. You can also go to 3trees.com, there's just a little tab there that says give. It'll relay to you all the ways that you can give. You can do that online, text to give, you can mail it, all that's at 3trees.com. I just want to thank you for being generous. Today, I get to preach. I want to preach something that's really been on the heart. I’m going to use a phrase today that has been stirring in my heart for quite some time. And even saw a couple of other pastors put it on Twitter earlier this week, and I was like, leave it alone, stay off my stuff till I can get till Sunday. It's been a unique day, I've had the privilege of being in Campbellsville, Columbia, now here in Russell Springs, and seems like each time thus far there's been at least a couple of people, man just get a really strong touch from the Lord, and I’m believing that God's gonna do that or even more again here in Russell Springs this morning. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I want to read two passages of text. We're gonna use them to drop an anchor and just see what the Lord does. Two very familiar passages of text, Philippians 3:12, “Not that I have already attained or am already perfected, but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brother, I do not count myself to have apprehended but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Can I get an amen from somebody? Amen. I was thinking how that hindsight is 2020. Hindsight is 2020. Romans 12:1, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. We’re being shown in Philippians chapter three, by the words of Paul, under the unction of the Holy Spirit is that there are going to be moments in our life, where that we need to forget some things where that we need to leave some stuff behind, and become increasingly intentional about pressing on towards the things that God has for us, and that he is calling us to. But I believe between what is behind us and what is in front of us, there should always be an altar. And that's where Romans chapter 12 comes in. Where that when I'm looking back, and I see some things that I was doing wrong, or maybe even some things that I was doing, right, I can bring the wrong things to the altar, and ask God for the grace to eliminate them. I can bring the right things to the altar and ask God for the grace to enhance them. So that then I can press on as a living sacrifice unto the Lord. I think 2020 has been a year where we've learned a lot about maybe what we were getting wrong, but also maybe about what we were getting right. Hindsight, is 2020. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Would you pray with me? Father, I thank you for grace, and I thank you for favor, and I thank you for the ability to get to preach, and God I don't take this moment lightly. And I ask you that the Holy Spirit, God, would bring unction in this house. That you would provoke every single one of us to take our next step in you, God, whatever that might be. That none of us would leave the way we came. That we would be better because of this moment with your word and your spirit. Let it be done Father in Jesus’ name, and the Church said, amen. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Hindsight is 2020. You know, the official definition of hindsight is understanding of a situation or event after it has happened or developed. For the sake of emphasis and making sure we're all on the same page, I'm gonna say it again, hindsight, is understanding of a situation or event only after it has happened or developed. You know, sometimes when you're trying to figure out what your future should be, whether you should go left, or you should go right, whether you should take this step or take that step, it can sometimes be really foggy and difficult to make out exactly what's best for you. But after you've taken a few steps, and time has passed, isn't it amazing how you can turn around and look back with hindsight and everything is so clear. And you're like, wow, now I see where I got it right, and I see where I got it wrong. I see where I'm really glad that I did this, and man, I really wish I would have done that. That happens to us financially, it happens to us relationally, and I think it even happens to us spiritually. There’s something about hindsight, that just gives you a clear perspective. You know, when I think about 2020, it has been a year that has put the pressure on people. It's been a year where it's almost as though things have been tried by fire, if you will. And what it's done is this exposed a lot of things. Many of the things that it is exposed is stuff that was already there, we just didn't see it because the pressure or the fire had not yet revealed it. Some of us have seen stuff come out of people that we didn't know they had in them. Maybe we've even experienced some of that about our own lives that there's been some revelations about things that we thought were right, we now realize we're wrong. And maybe even things that we would have perceived would be the wrong approach, we now view is maybe that's the right approach.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

There's something about 2020 that gives all of us the ability to kind of look back over our lives, I believe with a clearer perspective. And you may be looking at some stuff and saying, man, we're going into 2020. There were like two or three things that God has really shown me, or God's shown your family, and you realize we were getting it right. Like, these were two or three things that really helped us to be able to even make it through what was these last 9-10 months, because we were getting it right leading up to them. But maybe there's other places where you’re like man, 2020, fully exposed, that there were some problems in our marriage, there were some problems in how we were handling our finances. There were some problems in our business plan. There were some problems and how we were approaching prayer. There were some problems in our personal devotional. It gets revealed, some of that, perhaps, to you. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, in our family, as we've kind of looked back over 2020 with hindsight, and trying to evaluate what it is that we need to eliminate coming into 2021, and what it is that we need to enhance coming into 2021. We've discovered yeah, there were some things that thank God, we were getting it right. But we've also discovered, there were several things that we were getting wrong. You know, one of the things that we discovered as a family that we were getting wrong, came about in March or April of last year, right about the time that everything was beginning to escalate, we were in a time of transition as a family. We were moving from one house to the other house, and things began to escalate in the timeframe, and we wound up having to move a lot quicker than we expected that we would have to. And we found ourselves living in a little cabin down on the river, which is about the equivalent of a two-room deal with a little loft in it. And we got to know each other real well, really well. There was a lot of change that was happening externally, but there was also a lot of change that was happening internally. And we were all up in each other's business. And there was no practice to go to, there was no travel ball to run to, there was no art Expo for nightly to go to, there was no, Like everything was just shut down. And we're just finding ourselves literally on top of each other. And we find ourselves having a lot of conversations that maybe we wouldn't normally have had, and we start kind of diving in and stuff. And Mandy and I just began to discover something about our home. Our kids did not know the Word. And we were blown away. Because like we thought we had checked all the boxes for that. Like we thought we had done everything right for our kids to have a basic understanding of Scripture. And we discovered that there were a lot of just regular Bible stories that they were clueless about. There were a lot of principles in the Word of God that they didn't seem to have a good grasp of, a good hold on. And it became burdensome to us. And we started praying about it like, we gotta get this fixed, and we got to get it fixed now. And we started thinking maybe there's some kind of just simple thing we can find, to help bring resolution to this. And sure enough, there was, most of you have it on your phone. It's the Bible app. It's made by YouVersion. And within that there are plans that you can share with friends or you can share with family, and honestly some of that maybe we had done a little bit up to this point. We had even been a family. We were very intentional about having our table talks, and even having times a discussion about Scripture, but we had never intentionally went through the Word of God. And we realized, okay, if our family is going to get this straight, then we need to do a one year Bible reading plan together. And it was not January the first, and it wasn't the beginning of the year, but we realized we need to start right now. And we found a translation that was fairly easy for our kids to understand. Of course, they are teenagers, and we started working through it, and we would read daily. And we decided before we do anything, like even once life started back to a little bit more of normalcy, before we go to practice, before we start school, before we do anything, we are going to be intentional about reading the word as a family. You can read it in your bedroom, you can read it in your private spot, you can read it over here in the place you're most comfortable, but we're all going to read, then everybody's going to put it in the Talk it Over. You can ask your questions. You can tell us what spoke to you. You can share what it was that kind of stuck out. Me and Mandy do the same thing with the kids. They ask all kinds of crazy questions. I just make up something when I don't know the answer, or I tell them that their mom will log on soon, and she'll figure it all out for them. But it's been one of the best things that we've ever done as a family. And honestly, without 2020 I don't know if we would have discovered that that was a place where as a family we were vulnerable. I don't know if we would have discovered that that was a place where we needed to become more intentional. And maybe there's things about your life as you begin to look around the scope that like 2020 showed you this is a place where we are vulnerable. This is a place where we got to get some stuff fixed. This is the place where we need to enhance some things. This is a place where we need to eliminate some things. This is the place where we're getting some stuff right. This is a place where we're getting some stuff wrong. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, one of the things that came out of our devotional time this last week, we're actually right now in the book of Leviticus. Anybody reading the book of Leviticus lately? It's really not a page turner. It's not one of those books where you're like, oh, I just felt impressed of the Lord to go to the book Leviticus and hang out today. But as we're trying to move our teenagers through this book, and taking a look at it, there's been something that stuck out to us. It's around about Leviticus chapter nine, it's been something we're talking through as a family. The high priest, he's supposed to be one of the holiest men on the planet in Old Testament culture, and he has a very specific task. He is supposed to go into the presence of God, and there he is to become an intercessor, or a facilitator, if you will, of what God plans to do in the lives of his family, in the lives of the community, and in the lives of the nation. This guy is going to be used by God to touch his family, to touch his community. And to touch his nation, what God is doing through him, is going to minister to his family, to his community, and to his nation. But when you read it, there's something that's just blatantly obvious that even the teenagers see. Wait a second, before he could do anything to help his family, to help his community, or to help his nation, he had to get himself right first. It didn't matter what kind of religiously elite position he had, it didn't matter how spiritual everybody else thought he was, it doesn't matter what the culture says about how holy he could be, or he should be before he did anything on behalf of anyone else, he had to deal with the man in the mirror first.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I've had to fly quite a bit in the fall and winter months. I've had quite a bit of travel going on at times that's required me to go out and try and help other churches and pastors and different things. And one of the things that's happened with that is like flying is a little weird right now. And for the first time of my life, I listened to a stewardess. I'm about to tell you what she said, for those of you who have flown some, you're going to hear it for the first time. She walks the front of the plane and she walks through the exit strategies, I was more interested in that than I ever had been. She walks through all the safety protocols and procedures. And then she pulls out the yellow mask. And she tells you that the yellow mask is going to drop down if the cabin loses pressure, and if it loses pressure, she tells you, you put it on first before you try to help the person to the left or to the right, before you try to help anybody, you put the mask on first. Because if the air becomes toxic, if you suddenly lose oxygen, you will not be able to help anybody if you have not resolved what you need first. And I got to thinking about how, like in 2020 hindsight, looking back, man, it is so obvious that it became a year of the soapbox. And it is a year when everybody is so geared up to this is what the nation's doing wrong, and this is what the community is doing wrong, and this is what my family's doing wrong, and I don't know what's wrong with everybody. But they should get this figured out. Has anybody been… Okay, y'all are getting real holy on a Sunday morning. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

But the thing that happens is it starts about this person needs to do this different, and that person should change this, and I really wish these folks would... And I get it, I understand all of that, but you have to come to the understanding that if you don't breathe in the healthy air first, if you don't make the decision that I'm going to get my life on the altar of God before I try to get anybody else there. If you don't come to realize there can be no revival in your family, there can be no revival in your community, and there can be no revival in your nation if there isn't first a revival in you. And at some point, regardless of what you want God to do in your family, your community, or your nation, you're gonna have to draw a circle around yourself, throw your hands in the air and say God before I try to get the sawdust out of somebody else's I invite you to take the beam out of my own eye. That just for a minute, God, I'm gonna look back over my life, as I'm coming into 2021, I'm gonna look back over my life, and God I'm asking you show me like where did I get it wrong. And maybe I haven't even seen it yet, maybe it hasn't even been fully revealed yet, but I invite you Holy Spirit show me where was I getting it wrong? Where was my prayer life off? Where was my generosity messed up? God where was my intentionality in your word not right? Where was the things in my relationships off base, God show it to me, what needs to be eliminated. But God also show me where I was getting it right. Show me those things that made you smile. Show me those things that pleased you. Show me those things that, God, made Heaven excited about me. Because God, I want to enhance that. Maybe, as we enter into a new year, if we really do want revival, we're gonna have to say, God, let it start with me, myself, and I. Maybe there's gonna have to be some humility before the Lord, where we just say, God, what do you want to change in me, before we start focusing on any of this stuff that needs to be changed in everybody else?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

What kind of toxicity, God, have I been breathing in at the same time, I was trying to save somebody else in their situation? I don't know, but I can tell you what I've lived, and I regret that hindsight had to teach it to me. Mandy and I've been fairly open about our story, but something happened in our house last night, and it had a profound effect on me. And I don't even know if anyone else in our house realized what had just happened. But in knowing the direction that the message would take this morning, it just, it messed with me. Mandy and I've been married 20 years. I know, I don't look that old. 20 years. Celebrated in December. 20 years. The first seven, not good. You see, I had a salvation experience at seven. I had a moment with God at 12, and knew I was supposed to with the rest of my life. And, 18 Damascus Road experience. By the time I'm 20, I'm preaching all over the place. And Mandy’s story is not exactly like that. And so when we got married, I thought it was my job to fix her, to teach her how to be spiritual. Seven years in, she'd had enough of the critique. She was quite tired of living with a Pharisee. And I found myself on the balcony of a hotel room. And I was standing there, and I was telling God everything that was wrong with Mandy. She should do this, and she should do that, and I don't know why… And I had a whole list. And I was trying to let God know, God, if you don't fix her, this things gonna end. God if you don't straighten her out, it's coming apart. And then I got a download from Heaven unlike anything I had ever hooked up to, and it overwhelmed me. It brought me to my knees, and I remember being on that balcony weeping before the Lord. Because what he said to me that day was Eric, Mandy's not the problem, you are. I didn't expect to hear that either. It melted me. And for the first time I saw how hard I had tried to clean the outside of the cup, and yet on the inside so much was wrong with me. So focused on trying to fix everybody else, family, community, and even in that day, that time period I thought I was gonna fix the nation. And inside, I couldn't see, I couldn't realize that there was something wrong with me. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Can I tell you something? And God used my father to speak this into my life. If everywhere you go, somebody's got a problem, it's not everybody else that's got the problem. At some point, you got to look at the person in the mirror and recognize there may be something about me that needs to be eliminated. I went home, found Mandy, I asked her to sit down for a second. And I went, and I got a basin of water; it was the most spiritual thing I knew to do. I just walked over and started trying to wash her feet. I didn't even know where to start trying to make it right. But I just knew that a level of humility had to be displayed with authenticity that had never been in our home from my side. And I remember weeping. And I said to her, I don't know if you can forgive me. I don't know. But I promise you that I will spend the rest of my life doing my best to love you like Jesus loved the Church.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Last night, I was prepping for today. Sitting at the desk, and kids were going crazy. House was all wild. And I got up for a second just to walk across, what I guess you'd consider a hallway in our house, and Mandy, unprovoked, not knowing what was gonna happen, she just got up and she walked over to me, and she hugged me. And she said, I love you so much. Then she gave me a kiss. And the kids went, ooh, that’s so gross. And then Mandy turned, and she said this; she said you guys don't realize that I love your dad today more than the day I married him. And I love him more every single day. And I got butterflies. I went to a place to be alone for a few minutes. I thought man, I sure wish I hadn't messed up those first seven years. What an idiot I was. I was trying so hard to do the right thing that I ended up doing the wrong thing. But hindsight, is 2020. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

But here's the thing. I'm also very glad that one day, God finally got through my thick head and my thick heart. And while there might have been seven years that wasn't exactly what we would have wished for. There has now been 13 years that have so buried the first seven, that at times we have to remind ourselves that they even existed. And I don't know what your story is, I don't know from what lane you walk into this room today, or maybe even tuned in on a podcast, I have no clue. But this is what I know. Every single one of us are believing God for something this morning. I don't think you get up, come to church, or tune into a worship service, unless you're believing God for something, whether it's big or small, you're believing God for something. And here's the thing I want to get through to you this morning, is that just for a moment give consideration to the fact that maybe you're not waiting on God nearly as much as God is waiting on you. And maybe this is your moment to look back at 2020 that year that squeezed on you and that year that burned away at you. And that year that it was like there was no rest and it was constant anxiety, and maybe this isn't everybody's story, but it's somebody's story. And maybe when you look back over that year, there's some stuff that if you really look God's gonna show you that right there that needs to be eliminated if you're gonna have my full potential come to pass in your life. That over there, it needs to be enhanced if you're going to see my purposefully come to pass in your life, and you just stand before God and say, God, I'm ready, I'm willing, and I want to receive everything you got for me and more to, and I'm done arguing with you, God, I am all in. If you want to eliminate it, it's gone. And God if you want it enhanced, it's yours I give myself to you. And that is exactly what this morning presents you with. It is an altar between yesterday and tomorrow. Right now, you stand with the ability to have hindsight with insight, so that you can correct your foresight. God, I may have messed up yesterday, but I intend to get tomorrow right. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

There we're a group of Hebrew people. Jaron’s gonna come, he's gonna play. There's a group of Hebrew people standing on the precipice of destiny, on a Jordan River, getting ready to pass over into a promise God had for them. And a prophetic voice begins to speak to them. And here's what the prophetic voice says, sanctify yourselves, yourself. sanctify yourself, today, because tomorrow, God's gonna do wonders among you. Sanctify yourself today, because tomorrow. He didn't even worry about talking to them with yesterday. He's like, take advantage of the altar that's in front of you today, and let's get yesterday dealt with as we prepare for tomorrow. Don't miss. Don't miss what God has for you tomorrow, because you won't build an altar today. So many times in all of our lives when we got it wrong. You can fret over that, you can worry over, that you can feel guilty about that, or you can just say I'm ready to get it right today, and watch God start moving in your tomorrow.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Father, there's a lot we want fixed in our nation. So much we want fixed in our community or in our family. Just like that high priest, Lord, we just acknowledge that it must start with us today. We thank you, God, for what hindsight has taught us, revealed to us. And I pray Father that it would be used like a fuel on the fire of the altar to just see us get it right, moving into tomorrow. God, we give you our whole heart. Lord, there's somebody that's been waiting on you to move, pleading with you to move, wanting you to move, and today there's a recognition that maybe some things needed to happen in surrender personally first. God we give your heart, and we thank you that your grace is going to hold us. 

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