Leaving Room in Your Heart for Hope

During difficult times place your trust in God.

Ted Cunningham
Dec 3, 2017    34m
This sermon is about leaving room in your heart for hope. We, followers of Jesus, are an expectant people. We wait. But we have a better word than that. We have a word called "Hope". The point of this sermon is to note that although it is easy to get crowded by people, places and things, you must place your trust in God and not take your eyes off of Jesus. Video recorded at Chandler, Arizona.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Ted Cunningham: 01:18 Merry Christmas Cornerstone, all right! How many of you are ready for Christmas?

Ted Cunningham: 01:28 Let's see those hands.

Ted Cunningham: 01:29 All right. How many of you are not ready? How many of you, let's just go ahead and get to New Year's? No. Bah humbug. Bah humbug on that. We want to welcome everybody here at 5:00 p.m. San Tan Scottsdale.

Ted Cunningham: 01:45 We're glad that you're here. I'm going to help you get ready then, if you're not ready, you're going to be ready in just a few moments. We're going to play some clips of Christmas songs. And it's going to abruptly stop and you're going to finish it. So if you ain't in the mood, oh you're going to get in the mood!

Ted Cunningham: 02:03 All right, let's play track number one, you can see the whole idea of this. If you want to get some dancing in to this, feel free to do- See I like that. That's good. You're going to finish the line.

Ted Cunningham: 02:18 OK, we've got more people to get ready. Let's try track number two.

Ted Cunningham: 02:18 Much better! Track 3.

Ted Cunningham: 02:39 I love it, we have 22 more tracks to go.

Ted Cunningham: 02:44 I could do this all day. Let's do it. Track number four. Oh, yeah. Turn to the one you love and say, "You" one more time.

Ted Cunningham: 02:56 Only a couple more, track 5, let's try track 5. You're getting ready. Can I tell you that right now? This one I picked specifically for my friends in Phoenix. "Where you have to buy your snow." This is the only church I've been to offering Christmas and snow. I have no idea how much that costs, but if you're in the snow business in Phoenix, good for you. That's not a rip-off. No I'm just kidding, I'm just kidding. Wow. How many of you open presents on Christmas Eve?

Ted Cunningham: 03:45 OK. That's not Christian.

Ted Cunningham: 03:47 I'm here to tell you that right now. You are supposed to open presents - how many of you on Christmas Day? Let me see. Yes! That is what Leviticus 12:16 says. Christmas morning. Not, no, I made that up if you're new to the church. That's not a verse in the Bible. We used to get up every Christmas morning, my brother and I, because it was a day off from my parents. And so they like to sleep in on Christmas Day.

Ted Cunningham: 04:16 And, no, don't amen that. That's not an amen, right, moment right there, they used to sleep in. So my brother and I, we used to sit on the stairs and cough until they woke up.

Ted Cunningham: 04:23 How many of you tried that technique with your parents? I was five years old, sounded like I've been smoking for 20 years, and then they'd want to get up, and get ready, and, "how many of you want to make coffee?" No, no, no. You get to the tree!

Ted Cunningham: 04:38 You get to the tree and you open- I can't wait for Christmas. I love Christmas. And that's what we're entering into this season, Advent expectant waiting in preparation for the Messiah. For Jesus. Our hope is in Jesus. And I want to talk to you today about leaving room in your heart for hope, and the waiting rooms that a lot of us find ourselves in.

Ted Cunningham: 05:00 I'm not a very patient person. Go ahead and join me if you're not a very patient person. OK.

Ted Cunningham: 05:06 How many of you enjoy waiting in traffic? How many of you enjoy waiting in line? How about when you take your car, I drive a beater, anybody else drive a beater? Let me just see your hand. I love driving a beater, but I hate going to get the oil changed, because there is a little room you sit in while you see the guys out there oil changing, in 10 or 15 minutes and they start talking to each other and you see expressions like this. And you're just sitting there. The news, there's never any good news coming out when that guy starts walking over with his props. Remember he walks over with his props, and he walks in and goes, "Mr. Cunningham can I show you something?"

Ted Cunningham: 05:47 No, I don't want to see anything, just give me my car. "No, this pink fluid right here is transmission fluid, OK, but not from your car. You see this mud over here with shards of metal in it? That's your transmission fluid."

Ted Cunningham: 06:01 And you get this bad news. While here, today, everyone leaves with good news. No matter what your waiting room is. There are some in here who are waiting on a college to say you're accepted. You got the letter. Some of you are waiting on a phone call after an interview. Some of you are waiting on a phone call asking you out on a date. Would you raise your hand if that's you and you're waiting on that date?

Ted Cunningham: 06:31 Just go ahead, stand up and let the church know who you are. We'll get this done right now. Is there a better place to meet somebody than at church? So stand up! No, don't stand up. OK. Some of you are waiting on a boyfriend.

Ted Cunningham: 06:51 Who is, you've been dating quite a while, and you're ready for him to get down on one knee, pull out a ring, and ask you to be his wife. If that's you, would you raise your - No don't raise your hand, don't, that would be awkward.

Ted Cunningham: 07:03 Some of you are waiting on a due date. Is there anyone here expecting their first child? Let me just see. Are you guys expecting your first child? Congratulations. Anybody else?

Ted Cunningham: 07:03 First child. You know what you're having?

Ted Cunningham: 07:15 You're having a girl! Well congratulations.

Ted Cunningham: 07:22 First child. It's, it's a lot of work, but it's a lot of joy. I can tell you that. On a very serious note some of you have filed all the paperwork.

Ted Cunningham: 07:31 And you were ready for the "gotcha" day. And every time that phone or alert goes off, you grab it because you're, you're waiting, you're waiting on the news, your adoption has come through. Some of you have done everything the doctor prescribed, you've taken every fertility test and treatment, and you're waiting. You're waiting. Some of you took a medical test last week, and they said it could be seven to ten days before we get the results on this, and you find yourself in a waiting room.

Ted Cunningham: 08:09 We, followers of Jesus, we are an expectant people. We, we wait. But, but we have a better word than that. We have a word called, "Hope" and whatever your waiting room is, here's what we tend to do: we tend to take our eyes off of our hope and put it in the people that are in the room with us. We tend to take our eyes off of our true and only hope and put it on the situation, the circumstances, the stuff. Our timetable, our timeline, whatever it may be, and we, we stop expecting and we start to live in despair. We have a very doomsday mentality about what we're waiting on. Maybe you've been waiting so long you've given up. Maybe you've waited so long you've stopped trying. I have a friend right now who- his wife filed the paperwork. He's in a waiting room headed toward divorce.

Ted Cunningham: 09:02 And I remind him often, we, according to First Thessalonians, Chapter 4 of the Apostle Paul, in speaking to the church at Thessalonica, he says, "I don't want you to be ignorant about those who have fallen asleep." Because we don't mourn like the rest of men. We mourn with hope. We believe Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe we will see our loved ones again one day. There's only two ways to mourn, you can mourn without hope, or you can mourn with hope. Believers mourn with hope.

Ted Cunningham: 09:32 And we believe the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, is the same power that saves us. We believe the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, is the same power that can raise a dead marriage. And, we tell our churches all the time in Branson Missouri, never bet against hope.

Ted Cunningham: 09:51 Always go- and some of you right now are like, "I got to start making phone calls," and you're strategizing, and you wake up in the middle of the night thinking, "How can I- How can I fix this?" But you've been sent into a season of waiting. And when you study your bible, you realize our faith, Old Testament to New Testament, is about waiting.

Ted Cunningham: 10:11 It's about waiting.

Ted Cunningham: 10:13 All of the Old Testament, everything about the Old Testament is waiting for the coming Messiah, Jesus. We read about this in Isaiah, Chapter 9 verses 6 and 7. This is the birth announcement for Jesus Christ, the Messiah, "To us a child is born and to us a Son is given. And the government will be on his shoulders, he will be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, Everlasting Father, prince of peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace, there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on, and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this." I've always wondered with this verse. I wish I could do a survey or research somehow, asking just, (everyone, believer non-believer, some church experience, no church experience, a ton of church experience) "when do you think this was written?"

Ted Cunningham: 11:18 Because the joy, and the zeal, and the excitement, and the anticipation, and the energy that's in this text, you would think it's right at the time of the birth of Jesus. But this was written about seven hundred years prior to the birth of Jesus.

Ted Cunningham: 11:30 From the, your Bible breaks down into two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament. In between the two we have what's called the intertestamental period, or the Silent Years. After Malakai, for 400 years, silence. And, and when Matthew picks up, we get this idea, this concept, of pleroma. Which, this concept simply means, the fullness of time. When Jesus shows up on Earth. When, when, when, God sends His only begotten son to this earth. Which is really a short period of time from his birth, through his ministry, to his death, burial, resurrection and ascension to the father. It's a short period of time. But when the Scripture speaks of this "fullness of time," this birth, like pregnancy, like this coming forth, the idea here is everything about history is about this moment in history. This is the fullness of time.

Ted Cunningham: 12:22 Everything we've read in the Old Testament and everything about history up to this point is about the Messiah, the wait. Think about Malakai. He shares this, it's the very end of the Old Testament as he's speaking for the Lord, and he's prophesying. It says, "see I will send the prophet Elijah to you before the great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents." And the idea here is, this one will, will go before, speaking here (we're going to see in just a second in Luke) but we're talking today about three characters: John the Baptist, Simeon, and Anna. Three people we don't hear a lot about during the Christmas season, but it's really where the story begins and where it starts. Speaking here of reconciliation, "Or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction."

Ted Cunningham: 13:15 You have your bibles, I encourage you to turn to Luke Chapter 1. We're going to be in Luke 1 and 2, and then in John Chapter 1 as well, but I want to look at these three characters and the role they play in the Christmas story. As we just ask you to begin today, and to begin this season, to begin this series, not cluttering everything up, but keeping our eyes focused on Jesus. And we see three characters today who had great anticipation for the Lord. They knew they were waiting for the Messiah, and we get to see the picture today of how they respond. And what they do when they actually lay eyes upon Jesus, upon the Messiah. So I'll start with John the Baptist, I'll talk about Simeon; we'll look at Anna, and then we'll go back to John the Baptist and pick up his story in John Chapter 1 as an adult, as his ministry begins.

Ted Cunningham: 14:06 But here's the story of the birth of John the Baptist. In the time of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zachariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abija. His wife, Elizabeth, was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commands and decrees, blamelessly they followed after the Lord. But they were childless, because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old. So one day, the Angel Gabriel, as Zachariah is carrying out his priestly duty, appears to him and declares to him, "You will have a son." And here is what he says, "He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God, and He will go on before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah."

Ted Cunningham: 14:56 So we're picking up from where the Old Testament ended in Malakai. "To turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous. To make ready a people prepared for the Lord." John the Baptist had a very simple message and it was this, "repent."

Ted Cunningham: 15:14 Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Ted Cunningham: 15:17 But then Zachariah couldn't understand this, couldn't wrap his brain around it. He had consequences for this doubt. But in Verse 18 we read, Zachariah asked the angel, "How can I be sure of this? How do I know this is going to happen? Because, I am an old man," and I love this next part, "and my wife is well along in years."

Ted Cunningham: 15:39 If every man in here would take note of that, that don't ever give your wife's age when asked, "How old is your wife?"

Ted Cunningham: 15:47 She is advanced in years. Doesn't that sound, I mean that's just, scripture has always given us practical ways to share. Pause on that. This is speaking of John the Baptist coming into and making way, being ready and preparing the way for the Lord. But now I want to jump to Luke Chapter 2. We meet two other characters who have been anticipating, they have been waiting for this first coming, the coming of the Messiah. It says in verse twenty five of Luke 2, "Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the constellation of Israel and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Messiah." After 400 years of silence, after all of this time, and now to be told you will be alive when He comes upon the earth. "Moved by the spirit, he went into the temples court," this is Simeon, "When the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what the custom of the law required" (and that was just consecration of the child unto the Lord), Simeon took in his arms and praised God, saying, "Sovereign Lord. As you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation here in Jesus, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations alike, for revelations of the Gentiles and the glory of the people Israel." You go down a little bit further to Verse 36, you meet yet another character, who now gets to see the Lord, who's been anticipating and waiting for the coming Messiah. There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years.

Ted Cunningham: 17:35 She had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was 84. She never left the temple, but look at this, look at how devout she was. Never left the temple, worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.
Ted Cunningham: 17:54 Anticipating, waiting, coming up to that very moment. She gave thanks to God and spoke about the child, to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Israel. Fast forward now to John, Chapter One. John the Baptist is now in his ministry preparing the way for the Lord. The leaders come to him, "What are you doing? Who are you? You need to explain to us, are you the Messiah?" John the Baptist says, "Uh, No." "Are you Elijah?" "No." "Are you a prophet?" "No." And most scholars agree, this is the humility of John the Baptist and that he did not have a Messiah complex. He didn't. He didn't need to, he simply quotes Isaiah 40 verse 3. John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness. Make straight the way for the Lord." And then the next day John sees Jesus coming toward him and says, now watch this, of everything in the Old Testament, leading up to to the day Jesus is walking upon the earth, all of God's redemptive plan for mankind John sums up in one sentence. In one sentence he says, "Look," your translation may say behold, "Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."

Ted Cunningham: 19:12 "Are you the Messiah." "No." "Are you Elijah?" "No." "Are you a prophet?" "No." "Who are you then?" Don't worry about me! Look right there, that man right there. "Behold, that is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world." Keep your eyes on him. John the Baptist was for pointing people to Jesus. And may this be a season, (mom, dad, grandma, grandpa), that in all that's going on, (presents, and decorations, and school plays) and all of this going on, that whatever the hustle and bustle, the reason this series was put together by the team here is so that we wouldn't crowd out, "Look, there." That is the reason. Keep your eyes focused right there. And this is hard when you've been in a waiting room for quite some time.

Ted Cunningham: 20:01 It's very easy to take your eyes off of Jesus and to put it on your circumstances, and put them on the struggle, and to deal, let's say, like, this is just too much.

Ted Cunningham: 20:09 But you realize, even after Jesus, (his death, his burial, his resurrection), according to the Apostles Creed, He ascended into heaven where he sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.

Ted Cunningham: 20:25 Like, where is Jesus today? He sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty. But there is a day coming on God's timeline, where he's going to turn to his son and say, "Go get your bride." They waited seven hundred years since- Isaiah quoted.

Ted Cunningham: 20:38 And we quoted Isaiah 9 today, "Seven hundred years for the first coming of the Messiah, we've been waiting since he's on this earth, 2,000 years, for the second coming of the Messiah. We're an expectant people. We wait with hope for our Messiah." I talk a lot about, a lot about weddings. I'm passionate about marriage and family, and I've talked a lot about my daughter's wedding, standing at the back of a church with her, looking down the aisle at some punk.

Ted Cunningham: 21:03 No, that's just not true. That's not true. But I've talked a lot about that, and I thought a lot about that, and I guess a dad/daughter have a special relationship in that way. And I just picture doors like that, back there, flying open, and the music plays, and everybody stands to look at my daughter.

Ted Cunningham: 21:19 And down the aisle we go. And a wedding I haven't thought a whole lot about, is the wedding of my son. But I started thinking about it. My son is 12, and according to country music, he's only got a few weeks or months left. No, because it's that song, "Don't Blink." Right? Because we know as parents, the days go slow but the years go fast. And I just picture myself standing there. And I love doing this at weddings, when the bride is walking down the aisle, I love leaning over to the groom and put my hand on his back and saying, "Hey, go get your bride."

Ted Cunningham: 21:51 It's a very emotional moment for me. I get, I get, verklempt every time I do it. And he walks down and turns and faces, and I don't, I'm trying to think in ministry and in life, more tense moments than that. Like everybody is just like this. But that moment where he receives, and I get to, as a dad, Lord willing, one day put my hand on my son's back. And say, "Son, go get your bride."

Ted Cunningham: 22:15 And do you realize that's what we're waiting for now, as a church. No man knows the day or the hour. Don't get wrapped up in the people who try to give you the day or the hour. Run. OK.

Ted Cunningham: 22:28 Give your money to Cornerstone, not that person.

Ted Cunningham: 22:33 Because there's a day coming where God the Father is going to turn to his son and say, "Hey son, go get your bride." And you understand, that's the church; we're the bride. We're waiting for that. Everything is about waiting. If patience isn't your thing, if waiting hasn't gone well for you, if I can just encourage you in the midst of waiting, even when it's silent, that you would keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Not the situation itself, not the people involved, not the stuff. Not the bank account, not the job.
Ted Cunningham: 23:08 But whatever you're waiting on- If you want a great devotional. I brought this devotional because this is, I heard it probably three years ago and I brought it back out a couple of weeks ago because I think it's a great Christmas devotional and it's by Pastor John Ortberg in California. It's called, "In Between Despair and Joy." If you get time, look it up. I'm sure you can find it easily online and it's available, probably will be the first thing you pull up. But he always talks about in this devotional, I've heard him talk about it for years. We talk a lot about Sunday, at Easter. We talk a lot about Sunday, the resurrection of Jesus.

Ted Cunningham: 23:41 We remember the death of Jesus on Friday. But what doesn't get a lot of press is Saturday.

Ted Cunningham: 23:47 Saturday is the in-between day. The day between despair and joy. He says this, the day after a prayer gets prayed, that there is no answer on the way. The day after a soul gets crushed, weighed down, but there's no promise of ever getting up off the mat. It's a strange day. It's the in-between day. It's between despair and joy. Confusion and clarity. Bad news and good news. Darkness and Light. Saturday is the day your dream died. You wake up and you're still alive. You have to go on but you don't know how. Worse, you don't know why. And he simply says, "Silence happens on Saturday." Saturday is a very significant day because it's part of the story of our faith, it's waiting.

Ted Cunningham: 24:40 It's anticipating. We don't just wait, we hope, and we have expectation, and we have anticipation. We're expectant people.

Ted Cunningham: 24:49 After trouble hits you, after the agony of Friday, you call out to God, "Hear me, listen to me, respond to me! Do something, say something, rescue me!" And after all that, and all that passion poured into that, nothing. You hear nothing. On Saturday, in addition to the pain of Friday, there's the pain of silence and the absence of God. It's like a door slamming in your face, but not just bolted once or twice, but triple bolted going down. And the longer you wait the more emphatic the silence becomes. What can this mean?

Ted Cunningham: 25:22 A Mom and Dad find out that the child they love has a terminal illness. They pray like crazy, but only hear silence. She's getting worse. You lose a job, you lose a friend, you lose your health. You have a dream for your child, then on Friday, it dies.

Ted Cunningham: 25:37 What do you do on Saturday? You can choose despair, or you can choose to wait. Work with God even when he feels far away. Rest, ask, complain, trust. Oddly, the most common Psalm in the Psalms is that of complaint.

Ted Cunningham: 25:58 We call it a lament psalm and it has three parts. God, I am hurting, the enemy is winning, and you don't seem to care. That's a, that's a, that's a heartfelt prayer right there. I had a lady a couple of weeks ago come up to me and say, "Is it OK," she asks the question, "Is it OK for me to be ticked off at God?"

Ted Cunningham: 26:20 And I said, "I want you to take all of that passion to the Lord." Because anger is never what worries me, it's unresolved anger. That you would end, that you would move in the place of your waiting, in your darkest hour, your silent Saturday. That you would be moving towards the next part of the Psalm, which is what we call the confession of trust. It's where, in the midst of the trial, in the midst of the silence, in the midst of, "I have no solutions here, nothing seems to be working out," that we still trust. The Saturday Psalm, a simple God, why aren't you listening? So let me ask you, are you in a season where God seems to be silent?

Ted Cunningham: 27:01 Does it feel like you're suffering, and he slammed the door in your face, and do you have anger right now? Go on. He doesn't care. He's not listening. Nothing's happening. He doesn't hear me. That it's Saturday and maybe he'll never respond. Maybe, maybe I'll never see a Sunday. You wonder, where on earth Jesus is and when in the world will Sunday come, or will it at all?

Ted Cunningham: 27:24 What are you still waiting on God for? Are you waiting or are you watching? See there's waiting without hope, but we are an expectant people. We believe Jesus died and rose again. We move forward in silence and waiting, with hope. Some of you've waited too long, now you're doubting, you stop trying, and then you're giving up. We do something in Branson called a marriage intensive program and, done for 20 years, Dr. Gary Smalley started these years ago, and it's couples who've either divorced separated or filed the paperwork.
Ted Cunningham: 27:58 If you want more information on it go to nationalmarriage.com and, and the main marriage intensive program is a five day program. You check in on Sunday night, the first night, and then you start on Monday. And it's five couples who've separated, filed the paperwork, or they're divorced already. And five couples go into a room with a U shaped couch. They spend eight hours a day, for four days with two therapists. And I see it all the time whenever I share that guys are going, "That sounds terrible. I'd rather have a colonoscopy than one of those things." Day one you share your marriage story.

Ted Cunningham: 28:39 The goal is for you to go back to your room and look at your spouse after hearing four other marriage stories and being like, "Oh wow, at least we're not as jacked up as those other four couples." We, we actually got.

Ted Cunningham: 28:52 But what the power of that first day is, you realize wow, we're not the only ones who go through this. You mean other marriages struggle? And you start to hear pieces of other people's stories and you're like, "Yeah, uh huh. Yeah."

Ted Cunningham: 29:05 I share all that to say to you: eighty seven percent success rate, we've had in that program, over the last 20 years. And I asked, I asked the leaders of that program every year for the stat and if it's changed and they said it's still around 87 percent. And by the way, we don't define success as couples staying together. We define success as couples staying together and reporting higher levels of marital satisfaction than they ever dreamed possible. These are couples that are in the waiting room of Separation. Oh where's this going.

Ted Cunningham: 29:39 They're in the waiting room of the paperwork coming in, or maybe even the divorce and the marriage is dead. Marriage died on Friday and now on Saturday they sit in silence, and what are we going to do. Will we ever have Sunday? We believe the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that can raise a dead marriage. And you only have to answer one question. Husband and wife get asked this question separately: Are you open to a miracle? And if both husband and wife say yes, and they're not medicating with drugs or alcohol. Because you know if any of you have ever been in recovery that's just a whole other layer we have to deal with. Then we would, that layer's got to get taken care of first before we move into the reconciliation of the marriage. And let me tell you, we've watched God do miracle, after miracle, after miracle, after miracle on that program.

Ted Cunningham: 30:25 And here's what's sad for me in a room this size. Some of you have given up the whole idea of miracles. You've thrown it out because you've not seen it. We've seen it happen to other people, for other people, but it's not happened for you. So it can't. That's where you moved from, "it hasn't happened to me" to "it can't happen for me." Take your eyes off of that and put them back on the person of Jesus Christ. That's the whole purpose of this series, to not crowd your life out.

Ted Cunningham: 30:52 But you've got to let go. You've got to let go of whatever you're holding on to: people, places, and things as your source of life. And put your eyes back on Jesus. My daughter and I last, last summer, we went fishing and we were in Colorado and I hired a guide and we were walking across Big Thompson. And my daughter, 13 years old, was in-between us, and we're holding her hand. And you have to lean back like this because the current was so strong. And and I and I got nervous here several times, like if she got swept away she'd be gone. And and I said Corinne hold on tight. In the middle of that, as we're halfway across the river, the guide looks at my daughter and says, "Hey, Corinne, if you go down, don't drop the rod."

Ted Cunningham: 31:36 OK. I don't agree with that. I said, "Corinne if you go down, throw the rod." And my question for you, what are you holding onto that's costing you your life? What do you grab? I, I, broke my own rule with my daughter in October. I was holding a rod, crossing the Little Red River in Arkansas when I tripped and fell and broke my fall with a fist, and I broke the fourth metacarpal. My first broken bone in life, in my hand. And I get home and, and my kids are like, "Dad what about throwing the rod?"

Ted Cunningham: 32:16 I said, "Well, Corinne's rod was the guide's rod. You throw the guide's rod. You hold on to your rod."

Ted Cunningham: 32:22 You don't let your fly fishing rod go. But I just- think about this. Some of us in this waiting room are holding onto the solutions we know work, and I'm just, I know this is super simple, and you're like it could be oversimplifying, but I want, here's all I'm encouraging you to do today. Let go, and behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Ted Cunningham: 32:37 To begin this series, to begin this season, and for grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, that during this time, amidst all of this, you'd be pointing your kids to Jesus. Be pointing them to Jesus. My wife and I come from two very different homes. Again, she was the White House, right? She, the tree in every room, and Garland over every door, and lights over every door. I grew up in a very simple home, we decorated for Christmas on a commercial break.

Ted Cunningham: 33:05 And, three foot pre-decorated tree decorated tree with a garbage bag over it kept in the crawl space. And while we were watching "That's incredible," anybody remember "That's Incredible?" That was a great show. We pulled that out. We put it on the dehumidifier, we pulled the bag out, Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Now we're trying to bring our families of origin into this family and figuring out what our traditions are. If I can just encourage you, whatever your tradition is as a family, when you eat, who comes over, when you open gifts, make that all secondary and may the priority of your season, and for that matter, your life, be putting your eyes on Jesus. Not the people, places, or things in your life. Would you pray with me?

Ted Cunningham: 33:45 Father, today we are grateful for hope, the hope that we have in Jesus. For the one who has lost a family member in the last year, and they continue to mourn that today. That family member was a follower of Jesus, that they would mourn with hope, and be reminded of the blessed hope that we have, and to know that they will one day be reunited with that family member who professed faith in Jesus. For the one who's not professed faith in Jesus, that today would be a day they repent, that they would turn from their sin and place faith in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the one who takes away the sin of the world.

Ted Cunningham: 34:25 The sacrifice that was once and for all, for all. For that we're grateful. We're grateful for this season. Thank you for Cornerstone that put so much emphasis on this season, that we would be an expectant people. Not just excited about a day, but to be excited about Jesus, and making him the priority of this season and of our lives. We pray all of this in the name of Jesus, and everyone agreed and said, "Amen."

Recorded in Chandler, Arizona.
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Cornerstone Church
1595 S Alma School Road
Chandler, Arizona 85286