Submission is the ability to lay down the burden of needing to get our own way.
Thank you. Worship team and media team and first impressions team, small group leaders. We have a lot to be grateful for in our church. A lot of really wonderful people. I get excited when somebody says they’re going to come to church cause I’m happy for them because this is a really great place, a really good people and I’m happy for. And I hope they go to a small group because then they’re going to meet potentially lifelong friends, people really care about them individually and, and provide an easy, safe place to, to be yourself and, and to find, to be led to that transformation that only Christ can do in our lives. And so I’m very happy when, when people come to church and have for you guys as, as the church that receives people in there too. We are in a series called flow.
And in this series what we’re doing is we’re talking every Sunday about a habit or as some call a discipline. A discipline would be, this is, you know, I am disciplined to do this every week. You know, it’s a routine kind of a thing. And each one of these are a guaranteed way to encounter God’s presence. So the idea is that over the next couple of weeks, we will have covered all 12 of these and practicing these sets. Some have seasons, you know, some are, this is what I do every week or every day. So they kind of vary like that. But the idea is these are some real tools to experience the presence of God in your life, for God to make that change. These, these practices have been used by Christians literally for thousands of years, literally, literally. And we have records that go back. These are just common practices. So we’re sharing these things.
They’re very ancient truths that are timeless. They have more than withstood the test of time. These are things that work. These things are cross-cultural. These things are cross ethnic line, everything you could ever imagine. These are the practices of the people of God that bring us into the presence houses. This is what we can do, these things. So the first Sunday we talked about celebration, then we talked about guidance, worship, confession, prayer, praying for others, fasting. How many of you fast have fasted better on a full stomach? You want me to meditations? Last week we talked about study, thank you very much for coming last Sunday and experiencing a service without electricity. And so that was fun. It was actually a really great day. Everything went super well. Thanks for helping out with all of that. And then today we’re talking about submission, which I think is, is such a key one, such an important one to find freedom in life and happiness.
It’s one of those that once you master the art of submission, once you learn that skill, that ability, Oh my gosh, so of your problems just kind of go away. So many of the things that grate on you during the day or during the week, they just really less than up. It’s just amazing, like a cure all kind of a thing. So I’m very excited to share that with you. I have a continually, as most people always had dreams and visions about what I would like to do. And inevitably they all result in me leading something or me being, you know, at the center of it or me being the beneficiary, you know, and that is, that is a such a, a, a world perspective of a life. And some people think, well, if I don’t ever get there, then my life is insignificant. But that’s not at all with the Bible teaches.
The Bible teaches a completely different or radical perspective on greatness and importance and how to live. And in fact, it’s Jesus that has taught us exactly what he means by greatness, about meaning first or do that. But I want to share a, a funny failure that I had about a year ago in this area of recognizing of submission. And what happened was I, my mother, my mommy’s father passed away, then my mother passed away. And so between all those the illnesses and funerals and follow up and all that, I was gone for many, many weeks. I forget now, but it was quite a while months maybe. And and the staff here at the church, they just filled it. They took care of everything. And the church was better than when I left it and we had new people and everything was running. I was so happy or it was just fantastic.
And when I came back to that first staff meeting, they were going, everything I noticed that something was missing. And what was missing was, was how I take attendance about, you know, who’s here on Sundays so we can keep track for followup. And they had something else. And I’ll say, well, where’s the way I do it? And I just kept quiet there for a while. Thank you. Oh, I’m sure it’s going to come up. It never came up. And so I brought it up and I said, well, where’s, you know, the way I do attendance here? And they said, Oh, we got a different way now. This is how we’re doing it. And I’m like, Oh, different, huh. And I said, you know, I’ve been doing it this way for quite a while and this is really works well the way I do it. Oh yeah.
Well this is the way we’re doing it now. So, you know. Okay, well, you know, I left a meeting and with that on my mind and I said, well, wow they don’t, they’re not going to do it the way I used to do it. And I think the way I did it worked for me for decades. I don’t see why we can’t go back, what’s the big deal? And I went and thought about it and kind of stewed a little bit and came back the next day and stood all the way up a born to get to church and got here, sat in a parking lot. And I just started thinking about this thing and I thought, you know what? This is big enough that gardens to know about this and maybe God can do something about them to tell them how important it is that we use my system for attendance.
And I sat in a parking lot right by the pole, which is where I usually go sit in my park. And so I’m sitting there thinking about the same before I come in. And I tell you what, the Lord was not cooperative at all with me. And it was like, I just kept hitting a brick wall. And I find so Lord, what is it? And he said, I can’t believe you. And, and I say this to tell you that the Lord is a very good teacher. And I’m not saying this for you to learn from my experience, I’m just saying this for you to know that you can have experiences where God makes things crystal clear to you and it’s a huge blessing in your life. So I’m sitting there and I’m the, what kind of trash is, well, if it’s so important to you, says I did you teach somebody else how to do this?
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Did you explain how important this is? Or did you just assume everybody learned from you and they’re going to think it’s super important? And I realized that no, it was important to me and I’m the only one that really knew how to do it. And I had never told anybody else about it. And so I just felt like, well, that was a mistake for really, was that important to me. I should have told somebody you know, or shared with them or brought up before. So I helped a little bit dumb there and then the Lord takes it to the next step. He said what about if I just take you out? I just let you die right here. Now breaks off to Fastenal pastoral church anymore. What do you think your staff’s going to do? Well, I don’t think they’re going to ask themselves, how do we start doing Greg’s attendance system?
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No, probably not. You think they’re going to do well? We had to probably go continue to thrive and do really well. I said, well, so if they do it your way, you’re happy. If they don’t do it your way, you’re not happy. But regardless everything’s when done really well? Yeah, I guess so. I guess so. Well is there a better way you could use your time with them, with them rather than complaining about having your way? And I said, yeah, there probably is. I could probably be more encouraging. And then it occurred to me that they did like a million things. And here I thought of one that didn’t, wasn’t my way, and that’s the one I thought. And then I got this huge feeling of guilt about how I had disregarded everything. And I hadn’t given no single word of gratitude to them for the way that they had filled in, preached for me, taking care of everything, washed over everything, all those months.
And there I was, I believe so embarrassed. So I went in and I went to each one and I apologized. I said, I’m really sorry. I brought that up. I regret it. And if I had life to do over again, I’d never say that. And if I’d ever say anything like that again. And they’re like, what? What were you talking about? They didn’t remember it like I did. And but I apologize for it. And so then, you know, I’ve kind of walked around with a tail between my legs. I said, well, I want to go home. And on my way home, I still kind of feeling really crummy, but what I did and how immature it was, and I thought, you know, I’m gonna, I want to talk to AMI. Naomi’s very comforting. And so I just told AMI and her response was, you did, why you complained about what after all they did for you?
Not very comforting. And I said, yeah, I really feel bad. She says, really? How bad you feel? I said, well, I told him I apologize. He says, why don’t you take him out to eat, take pay for their lunch? Oh, I can do that. I can do that. And I’m thinking, you know, yeah. Where’s the village grill down here? About 10 bucks a head and you see six of them to Angela? Three. Four, yeah. Yeah. I have no problem. You know, apologizing and go. So she goes, where are you going to go? I gone and taken a village grill. Oh, that’s not enough for what you did. No. Your apology, you need to be going down to folk G shone down in Santana row. Well, that’s 55 bucks. A person said, Oh my gosh. I says, yeah, they’re worth it. Y’all don’t know what you think are apologizing for. But that was big. Okay. And so I came and I told them, you know, I want to take you guys to lunch has an apology for what I did. And they were like, Oh, this is great. And so we did, we went down and fully shown and had a fantastic meal, aren’t you suggested he’d be able to think of something I should apologize for every week.
That kind of made me nervous. That’s what I did. But in now, what is that? What was that about? It’s that inability, right? To be comfortable when things don’t go my way. And that’s what submission is. That’s, that’s the, the definition of submission is it’s being able to lay down at burden of needing to have your way. And that’s what submission is, is being okay with somebody else in authority and for the Christian that somebody else in authority is none other, that God, that God would be in authority. Now Jesus himself had to deal with this issue of submission all the way through. In fact, this is a human nature issue. And so Jesus taught us so much about the art of submission. This is how the human heart postures itself before God for the maximum freedom for the maximum joy in life.
And this is what it means to have a heart of submission. This is what God’s calling. So he says, as Christians, we have practiced this artist’s. And the more adept, the greater our ability in this, the easier life gets. And the more effective we become in life. And the more we see God at work and God’s power taking place in our lives, a ways we can only be grateful for. And so there’s many stories, but the one that I thought I’d bring your attention to is found in Matthew chapter 20 and it’s, it’s the part where at first and beginning here with verse 20, Matthew 24, beginning with verse 20 just before this, Jesus tells them that he’s going to die and he’s going to be crucified and what you’re going to raise to life again. So he’s gotten kind of on edge and this is what’s going on.
When you know how you hear these stories about how people bring their mother to job interviews. Well that’s nothing new. And two of his disciples brought their mother to talk to Jesus about a promotion for him. And so this is kind of where we pick up here. Then the mother of Zebedee, sons, those would be James and John. Those were their names. Very close to Jesus came to Jesus with her sons. He imagined the shamelessness of those two boys moving on and kneeling down, asked a favor of him, what is it you want? He asked, she said, grant, that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom. And so basically it’s like a hierarchal or a role of importance in a, in a, in a court and a culture that, that her mother, this mother would’ve been familiar with, whoever gets to sit next to the King has an enormous amount of power.
So that’s basically what she’s saying, says, give my boys a lot of power. And that’d be good for our family. And and Jesus’ response to them, what to her was, you don’t know what you’re asking. And then Jesus asks a strange question. It says can you drink the cup? I’m going to drink. And basically referring back to how he’s going to suffer and die. Can you guys do that? And their answer was a surprising yes, we can. Well, Jews was kind of taken back by that. He says, well, you and Dee will drink from the cup, but to sit at my right and her left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my father. So here, even with Jesus and his disciples, he’s teaching them, don’t be grabbing onto authority. Don’t be wishing for it.
Don’t be hoping for it. Don’t be centering your life on things going your way. And he, and he he, he goes back and he says you and when, when the 10 heard about this, they were indignant the other disciples with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, you know that the rulers of the Gentiles, Lord it over them and their high officials exercise authority over them, not so with you. And how much more do we know that we know how those in authority, government, or family or employment, whatever it might be, we know how they Lord their authority over us. And it’s not fun, but not so with you. We’re not to be like the world. We’d go a different route, not so with you. Instead, whoever wants a whoever wants to be come great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.
Just as the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. And Jesus responds, and this is consistent with so many things. It says, those who want to be great are those who are the servants. Those who want to be first in the kingdom of God. Those are the slaves. Those are those who take the lowest visit. Those are the ones who say, yeah, I just serve whatever’s happening. Yeah, I do what they tell me to do. I come in and I do my job, do it the best I can. That’s that’s the posture that is a completely different, completely different how the world says it. In fact, in another place in Matthew chapter 10 Jesus kind of puts it in a different way. He says, if you, if you look for life, if you look for your life, you’re going to find you’re going to lose it and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
And he’s saying, right, you’re just what? Just a repetition of it. Don’t be trying to grab on to authority. Don’t be trying to grab onto get ahead. He said, that’s not your job. That’s my job. God is saying in this instance here, he says, let me do my job. You do yours. You find your place in the kingdom, in the family and your relationship with me and then you let me do my job. You let me see these things through you. Let me take care of all of these things that you’re so worried about. Let me handle this. And we find that we find that that, that this, this ability or this heart of of submission, the art of submission, it’s core to having very good relationships. It’s because at the very center of it, I love reading leadership books just about every leadership, but it comes out, I download it and I read it as I’m just fascinated by the topic and how it changes how evolves and so many times when I say so many, I’m thinking like 90% of the time it’s, if they don’t use the art of submission, that’s exactly what they’re talking about and they’re just talking around it.
And I think people have come to this conclusion through scripture and then those are people that just come through research. How do people respond best? What’s the most effective way to influence people and to lead people to help people? That old hard fascist, you know, authority, the, the iron fist to come down on, man that hasn’t ever worked. There’s times that we’ve been forced to live under that, but it’s never worked. It’s that authority that comes to relationship. It’s that authority and that love and that concern for who you are independently. That’s the one that influences people the other way, and we’ve seen it all the way through scripture too, especially in the old Testament when when things were really great, people’s hearts weren’t right with God and that was the issue. It’s always the heart. What makes somebody’s heart right with God? I force people to do things over my sad career.
I forced people to do things that they didn’t want to do. You think it went well for me? No, it didn’t go well. Why? Because people retaliate. People build up a resentment and the first chance they get, they try to make you pay for the decision that you made them do and they want to prove to you that it was a bad decision. If it was a great decision though, sabotage it. Has anybody ever experienced that in a place of work or home like that? People come around the other side and sabotage your decisions because of their resentment that they had to do it. They really didn’t want to do it. That happens. That’s just the way human nature is. And it’s that thought vying, right? That fighting for authority. And so in that fight, in that, in that vine for authority, what God says is realize that I’m the authority.
Let me be the authority, submit to my authority. That’s what God is calling each and every one of us do is to find God’s authority and to say, that’s my authority. Now that does something really neat. Number one, it means you’re not in charge anymore. That God is, you cannot have authority. He cannot take God’s authority for anything and still be under God’s authority. It’s either yours or it’s God’s. So either people are having to deal with you and you’re in what you think is this or that, or they’re having to deal with God’s authority flowing through you. And when God’s authority flows through you, it’s always with a motivation of love. If it’s not, then you’re doing it wrong. And so it’s a motivation of love and it’s that authority. So when I come up under God’s authority and I see other people doing things, this is the posh.
I got to have this as well. What they’re doing is what they’re doing and it really doesn’t matter in the big picture because my life belongs to God. My destiny is in God’s hands, not in the decisions of other people. How other people choose to make things happen to do otherwise is to greatly undermine the power of God in your life. Now, if you don’t want to see God’s power at work in your family life or your work life or thing like that, then just take all the authority. Just run things where you think they should be running, manipulate things from your perspective or gain whatever power you can for wherever you are and God isn’t going to do anything, is going to let you get what you can get out of that and evidence. Inevitably, it’s always a disappointment, but if you want to see God at work and your family was he got it worked in your place of work, he was see God at work in your world, then let God have his authority.
Let it come under God’s hand. God aren’t going to give it to you. I’m going to surrender my way to your way. I’m going to allow you to set the stage for you to say this is how it’s going to be and I’m going to learn how the art of submission, the art of letting God have his way in my life that I don’t need to have things will go my way, but I will let God have his way. That’s a lifelong lesson. We’re continually challenged with that, but what a beautiful and powerful lesson that is to learn to let God have his way that challenges us on every level of our lives. A common question I get is wonder if the person that is supposed to be telling me what to do is an idiot. What am I supposed to do if they make bad decisions?
If they make wrong decisions, do I still have to do what they’re telling me to do? Well, I would say your first concern is to cook up under God’s authority. When you’re under God’s authority, you’re not under anybody else’s authority. We serve other people out of reverence for Christ out of love for the Lord, but we do that because of who we are as Christians, not because we are under their authority. We do this because we’re under God’s authority and we serve God and I would say first and foremost, when somebody is making some decisions that really disappoint you or frustrate you, the first thing is is to come back up under guide and realize that you are not a victim of those bad decisions. God has you at this place in time because God has you there on purpose. There is a much bigger reason why God might have you in a place and sometimes realizing that is the first time the blinders can come off and you’re able to see, Oh, there is a reason I’m here.
There’s a much deeper reason. I don’t know what that reason might be, but I do know God always has us where he wants us to be. And when we recognize that and realize that, then we come up under God’s authority and we let God work in and through our lives and powerful and magnificent ways. It’s when we’re able to do that. So the first I would say is realized that God is the one that orders this whole world. It begins with him and it ends with him and he takes care of all of the details when he is in charge, when things are going according to the way he wants it to go, when he has it only come up under it. God takes care of these things and you can rest assured that God is going to be good oil. Or the frustrations is that sometimes these people consume our minds and all we do is think about them and the dumb decisions and how I’m wasting my time under them.
But if we would take our minds off of them and move it over to God and remind ourselves and affirm God’s faithfulness and God’s goodness in our lives, that all of a sudden brings relief to our lives. It changes everything. I had this incident this week. I have somebody that I’m under their authority here in that in sense of, of I have to do what they told me to do away. And it’s, it’s in a, a corporate idea to it for the church. And I was disappointed. I, I don’t like the way they’re going all that. And I was just consumed with it. And then I started thinking, well, it’s not this person’s church. It’s God’s church. And God’s the one that calls the shots. We don’t call. God does. And so I switched from complaining about how I didn’t like the way things were going to praising God and worshiping and affirming God’s faithfulness and God’s goodness.
And we tell you what, if I, if I was at a doctor’s office, my blood pressure would have gone straight back into normal. It was the healthiest thing. It was just a relief. And just start focusing on the goodness and the faithfulness of God. I found some songs to sing about that. I found some scriptures I felt started remembering times in my life of God’s goodness and God’s faithfulness in my life and I depended on God to be good and faithful. And you know what? That’s a comfortable place to be where I’m not a victim of the decisions of others. God is the one that deals with that God is all. It takes care of that and God always moves to protect us. Always dies. If you’re in a bad place, you can have confidence that God knows you’re in a bad place and if God was to move you out of there, the hue will move you out of there.
I’m not talking about an abusive situation. Of course I’m talking about an endangerment situation or I’m talking about you know, many levels of frustration. I remember one time I was walking to church when I lived in Los Angeles. I lived close enough that I could walk to the church and I’d walk in the early mornings. And one of the things that frustrated me was out in my job there. I was trying to accomplish things and nothing was getting done. I couldn’t get anywhere. And when I would walk on the sidewalks would be these earthworms. And for some reason they crawled out of the grass lawns and onto the summit. And I would see them trying to dig into the summit. And I related to that, I said, that’s me. This earth was never going to crawl, go to, you know, get back to safety with this kind of a ground is a summit.
He’s stuck. So I felt bad for the earthworms. So when I would walk, I would pick up worth for hymns all the way and throw him back on the line so that they could break through into where it’s safe and where it’s nice again. So it wouldn’t be all, their energy wouldn’t be in vain. And one time I was doing that and I was very frustrated where I was and I just felt the Lord say, if you care that much about an earthworm, don’t you think I care a lot more about you? Don’t you think I could pick you up and put you in a safe place just at the right moment? I thought, yeah, I bet you could. Four weeks later I was out of there. Four weeks later, I couldn’t believe nothing I did was just the Lord just opened up. This door is like that.
The Lord takes care of us. The Lord does. It’s just amazing like that. He said, well, how can I, how can I be submissive to God? What does that look like? How does that even happen? Well, that’s a very good question. What does it mean to be submit to God’s authority? Well, very first of all, it all begins with a relationship with God. It’s on the basis of relationship. It’s not a rule book, not a task list. It’s based on relationship with God. And so for me to come up under God’s authority, first of all means that I am with in a relationship where Jesus lives in my heart and there’s all the other benefits of that taking place and that it’s a long process and that we work together and we live together and God works through me and God works for me and God is bringing me into his will and where he wants me to be.
It’s a partnership like that and I can see not only in this timeframe, and this is a spot where I’m at right now. I can see God all the way through this world, all the way through this lifespan into the next. God is bringing it all together in there and when we come up under that in relationship with God, we realize that God is taking care of all of these egos. That where we are today is by no accident that he has guided us and even the most horrendous experiences that we have had. Somehow or another, they have created an experience, a learning experience for us that moves us closer to God and becoming more of who God wants us to be and take us where we want to go. When we learn the art of submission to God, something breaks through in our lives where we are able to just begin to let go of people who try to tell us what to do all day long.
It’s not that they’re going to stop telling us what to do, but their power of frustrating us as the goes away because all of a sudden we’re not depending on them or depending on God, we’ll let God do this thing. Sometimes we have a real hard time with that, whether it be in a family situation, family switches, usually the the nursery of this thing. This is where it really comes to trial. Really. The, you know, really the truth comes out in the family. How do you expose your, your submission to God? Ephesians chapter five says, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ and that’s the rule for every member of the family. And so there is a role for the parents to be submissive and there’s a role for the children to be submissive and there’s a role for each of us to be submissive.
And the question for each of us is, how am I demonstrating my submissive submissiveness to God’s authority? How am I doing? How am I demonstrating that for my boys and my children? There’s nothing more than I would want for them to make it through and have God be in charge of their lives, have God guiding their lives. How is that how, how do I make that happen? By preaching it on Sundays and making sure they’re listening to me. No, that never works. I do it by one on one conversations where I demonstrate my submission to God’s authority in my life and I talk about the blessing that comes from that. I talk about the peace that comes through that, especially when you get there in your teen years when there’s just some thing in our nature that some teams, not all, some teams just go to an extreme to exert their authority, exert their independence well during those times. Those are critical times and to try to make it through those times by continually talking about how we are submissive to God’s authority and finding our place there and letting God work to not be worried about all these other little things and not be afraid of what tomorrow holds.
That’s what I’ve found. Fear just permeates us when we are trying to control things and the more we control, the more we fear of losing what we have, the more you have to lose. So control and fear, kind of like the evil twins. These kind of go together. The more I have to control somebody, the more to control situations, the more fear I feel in my life. For my life.
What does the Bible say about fear in the presence of God? The two are incompatible. The two do not go together at all. In first Timothy chapter one was he say, he talks about the spirit of fear, right? And he says, the spirit of fear is driven out by the spirit of
It’s a spirit of love and of power. You cannot have a spirit of fear and having the presence of God. If it’s control that creates fear in your lives, lose the control given, put it in God’s hands. Say, God, I’m going to let you handle this. You’re the one that’s able to take care of this. Well, and in first John of judge four was it say, says, perfect love drives out fear. God’s love will drive that fear out. What a nice way. I have no doubt that somebody just sitting here saying, isn’t the dumbest sermon I’ve ever. No, no. I’m not letting go of nothing because if I let go that nothing happens. Let me tell you what it’s like when you finally get to that moment when you’re trying to grab on to everything and you’re not trusting God with your life and you don’t know that he’s going to move.
You don’t know he’s going to act, so I better take care of these things. When you live in that realm, what happens is you grow up not only fear but wider resentments and a lot of manipulations and a lot of keeping track of people and it was just just a boatload of problems and when you come to that moment where you surrender your life to Jesus, when you arrive at that spot where you’re able to say, Lord, it’s not about how I want it. To me, it’s about you want it to be helped me to know what that means and how me to live that out in my line. We tell you what it’s like. It’s like rising up and taking the deepest breath of fresh air you could possibly imagine after being underwater for too long. It’s like a gas.
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It just feels so good to let God handle these things, to trust a God, to believe in God, to position you in a place where God acts with his power and his ability and his love and so that you will look back and you’ll sing of his faithfulness and goodness from your own experience of how good and how God faithful God is in my life. When I trusted him, when I let him have his way, when I surrendered to his authority in my life, that’s the way we are designed. This is the way we were created and this is the way that God is bringing us back into his family. So I don’t have courage. I don’t, I don’t know of course what each individual and the things that you face, but I will say again, the Holy spirit is a wonderful teacher and allow the Holy spirit to move you closer to submitting to God’s authority.
Teach you it is whatever your issues and problems you have with that, let the Holy spirit begin to teach you. Let God’s word open up. Go to God’s word and say, God, can you show me what this means? But have a mindset. Have haven’t I had a desire to, to develop the art of submission in your life for the sake of your relationships, for the sake of your marriage, for the sake of your children, for the sake of your coworkers, for the sake of your future. Most of all, for the sake of your relationship with God, the God would accomplish what he wants to accomplish, what you can accomplish in your life. But it’s for heavenly father. Thank you so much for letting us have this moment to focus in on such a life changing and important topic. Something that all of us struggle with the Lord.
I pray that your Holy spirit would take your word and your Holy spirit, Whoa, Whoa. Be with each and every individual who is here right now and you would provide the words that they need to hear. Maybe they’re hard words, maybe they’re easy words. The Lord, may they be affective words for changing each one of our own words and to being willing to submit to your leadership and your will. And your way in our lives. You’ve taught us, Lord, to trust you. Help us father, to really put feet to our trust and really put your heart trust in you and place. Thank you, Jesus for the amazing blessings that will come flowing into people’s lives as they begin to live the sound. I’m very grateful. Father, we give you all the praise and all other things. The name of Jesus we pray. Amen.