Transcript of the Parkland Strong Message with Timestamps: February 18, 2018
Prayer for our Community – Parkland, FL (0:0)
God, that’s our prayer today – that you would hear our cries. God, a lot of us are walking in today, with more questions than we have answers to, more pain than we feel equipped to handle. God, I just know that there is the brokenness that’s in here. God, my prayers is that today, you start to pick up the pieces of our brokenness. and do what only you can do, and that is, put us back together Holy Spirit have your way here today. Move, transform.
I pray most of all that you would begin to heal us today. God, we love you, we trust you It’s in Jesus’ name that I pray, Amen.
Our Reality (1:41)
Church, this has been a tough week. I don’t know about you, but I was not prepared for this past week. Today my heart’s broken. I know many of you that feel the same way. Parkland isn’t just some faraway town somewhere else Parkland is our town. See, all of us are Parkland. All of us are Stoneman Douglas. This is our community ,this is our family, this is our people. This isn’t something that we read about on TV. This is our reality. I don’t know about you but I’m deeply troubled today. Troubled in my soul, troubled in my emotions.
What are you going through? (3:50)
Jesus actually said that we’re going to experience some trouble. In fact, in John 16:33 Jesus said “…in this world we’re all going to have some trouble…” Here’s the thing about trouble. Trouble is the great leveler of our entire human race. It isn’t a respecter of age, spiritual delineation, race, income neighborhood. When trouble comes, man there’s a lot of hardship and loss, heartbreak and betrayal, and deep pain. I think a lot of us are experiencing it today. When we’re feeling that way, how we react, it’s pretty normal. A lot of us are going through different emotions today. Some of us are just in this state of shock right now. We’re an utter disbelief. We’re like, “How in the world did this happen?”
Asking Why (5:22)
In fact, we’re saying, “I can’t believe this happened to me.” This stuff is supposed to happen on TV, or in places we read about on the web, but this is not supposed to be my reality. Some of us, we’re stuck in this place of shock. Others of us have moved beyond shock to the stage of blame. we’re basically we’re going, “This isn’t fair! Why me? Why my life? Why my family? Why my community? Why my kids?”
What happens when we can’t come up with an answer, we start looking at people around us, and pointing the fingers. It’s that person’s fault, or it’s their fault, or it’s the government’s fault, or it’s the lawmakers fault, and if we can’t find a human personality to blame it on we’ll blame it on God, because He’s an easy target. Probably, honestly, the easiest.
For some of us, we’ve moved beyond that shock and blame, and we’ve moved on to withdrawing. We find a dark and we find a lonely place. We isolate ourselves. We suppress all of these emotions that we’re having. Let me just tell you something, that is one of the worst things you can possibly do right now – is to try to push all of this stuff down in your life and go into this ultimate kind of self-pity mode.
Anger and Shame (7:23)
Some of us, we moved beyond that, we’ve gone straight to anger. Where we go, “Somebody’s got to pay for this!” We’re angry and we’re lashing out, and we’re saying and doing things that we would never do unless we were hurt in that moment. Because hurt people, what do they do, they hurt people. We want other people to feel the pain that we’re experiencing right now. Sometimes all that leads to shame. All of this junk in our life is catching up to us. What am I doing? I’ve hurt people. I’m hurting people. We feel like we should have done things that we didn’t do. We end up in this deep toxic pit of shame. Some of us move even a little bit further than that, and end up into a place of depression, despair, and utter – defeat in life. We say why go on? Some of you, you’re there right now. You’re going, “Man, what is the deal? I don’t know what to do!”
What are YOU Going to Do? (8:49)
Here’s my question for you – How are you going respond right now? Are you going to respond to the encroaching darkness by throwing in the towel and giving up? Are going to respond by just gritting your teeth, suppressing your emotions and trudging ahead through life? Are you going try to cope with a little bit more wine or few more pills? Or are you going to throw yourself into a relationship frenzy or a work frenzy? Are you going to eat yourself into an oblivion or throw yourself into a financial ruin? What do you do when adversity and trouble bring you to the edge of utter defeat – What do you do in THAT moment – I would say what do WE do in THIS moment?
What does Jesus Say? (10:14)
Jesus said in John 16:33, “In this world you’ll have trouble…” but He doesn’t finish right there. He continues on. He says, “…but take courage overcome the world.” He doesn’t just say we’re going to have trouble. He says listen, there’s something more than the trouble you’re going to have. There is something today that you and I can grab ahold of in the midst of the pain and the suffering, the loss, the heartbreak, and the utter disbelief that we’re facing today. Jesus says we don’t have to cave in. We don’t have to do swan dives off into the abyss. We don’t have to go and throw our lives into a frenzy. There is something that we can grab hold of that will move us forward.
We Will Overcome (11:04)
In fact, Jesus says there’s another way and I can help you move that way. Today, what I want to do is I want to help us start to overcome emotionally, relationally and spiritually today. I believe that we’ve got to start that today and I believe that if we can learn with the power of Christ at work within us that God wants to do something supernatural in our lives that only He can do. If we’ll grab hold of it and we’ll stand firm, He will transform our lives. We don’t have to live on the edge of despair, but we can actually start to walk as an overcomer. Jesus says we can. But, some of you are wondering if you can today.
In the Dark (12:08)
Yesterday I was out at Pine Trails Park in Parkland, basically like I’ve been every single day this week, at the memorial for the 17 precious lives that were taken on Wednesday. I was sitting there in front of Meadows memorial. There’s a Parkland tent there. I just went on down on one knee just watching these students grieve and just praying that God would start to do something in their lives from a distance. This one young girl came and sat down there in front of Meadows picture and the cross and she started bawling. Her mom comes over and is trying to console her.
No matter what her mom says, it’s not making any difference. Her mom eventually steps back and steps underneath this tent with me, and I can just tell – she’s at a loss for words. I stand up and I go, “Ma’am, my name’s TJ, I’m a pastor here. I’m so sorry that you’re having to answer questions for your daughter that she is emotionally unprepared for – and so are you. Can I pray for you?” She just looks at me and she goes, “Pastor, I’m just at a loss.” I thought to myself right there, how dark can darkness get? It can get pretty dark, can’t it?
Take Courage (14:31)
In spite of that, Jesus says that you and I, we can take courage. There is a power that is available to you and I that can sustain us even through the darkest moments. Let’s be honest, if I were to grab one of these mics, and I were to pass it around here and just go, “Would you tell us, honestly, how you’re doing?” You and I would be amazed at the stories of hardship and trial and pain. Listen – not everybody is dealing with this experience the same way, but some of you, you’re dealing with some loss right now.
Some of you are going through some financial ruin right now and it is troubling your life. Some of you are dealing with some kids that are just going buck wild and crazy that you don’t have answers to right now. You’re in some trouble some of you are dealing with a lot of things. Your health is in crisis right now, we’d be blown away by the stories.
Parkland Walls (15:40)
A lot of us, we walk in here and we try to fool everybody else by what we drive, and what we wear and where we live, and in the job that we have, and the cool clothes that we’re wearing. But the reality is – we’re only trying to fool ourselves. I think it’s time for us to to pull down some of the facade in our lives, so that some healing can begin to take place inside of us.
We can pull down some of the walls. You know, I was thinking the other day, we’re out in Parkland right now building walls, so we can help people tear down their walls. You know what? There’s some walls in our lives that have to be torn down as well – so that Christ can go in there and do the healing work that he wants to do.
Going Through It (16:33)
I want to help us begin that process today, and the only way I know how to do that is by doing what I did when I went through the darkest moments of my life – when Shayla and I found out that we couldn’t have kids. It ruined a lot of the life that we had planned. It came down to three things that got us through that – that I want to give you today. I’ve been praying all week – What do I say to a whole bunch of people that are hurting? That are asking how and why how did this happen? Why did this happen? That’s the wrong question that we should be asking.
The Right Question (17:09)
We should be asking God, “What do you want to do inside of me today?” I believe that God wants to do a work inside of you today, and then we can start to figure out some of those other answers. It’s got to start with you. What does God want to do in you today? I believe that God wants to heal you in a way like never before. I believe how you deal with adversity comes down to 3 things. It comes down to 1. What you believe.
1. What You Believe (17:38)
When adversity and trouble comes your way, what happens first and foremost is a spiritual vertigo sets in. Where we become fuzzy and unclear about what we believe. Everything starts to come into question in that moment. I’ve just found that when when these kind of things happen, I started going, man, there are some things that I fight tooth and nail to go – I believe these things and these things are unwavering in my life. One of those things is that even though God allows a certain amount of adversity in my life He is NOT the author of evil.
Who is God (18:07)
Some of us we need to know that today that God is not the author of evil. In fact, Jesus made this very clear when he was talking to his disciples in John 10:10 he says the thief comes to steal kill and destroy. That’s his MO, that’s what he does. That’s his agenda in life. Jesus goes – that’s not how I act! I want you to know who I am, and what I do! He says, “I’ve come that they may have life and have it abundantly.” We’ve got to be crystal clear in our beliefs about who God is and what he wants to do in our lives.
In Him we are Strong (18:42)
When adversity and trouble come our way another thing I’ve got to hold on to, that I found it was so critical in my life, is that God limits the severity of the adversity so that in HIS strength I can overcome. See, He only sends us the amount of severity at a certain speed in a certain angle to which we can sustain it and survive it. It’s why I hold on to verses like Isaiah 43:1-2 where it says, “Fear not.” I love how personal God is, “For I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned the flames will not set you ablaze.” What’s He saying is that yes, we’re going to go through some things, but God is right there with us letting us know that we can make it through this adversity.
Listen, when a hurricane a hardship comes your way, you got to know that this is survivable. There’s got to be some things that you can hold onto. There scripture that I hold onto tooth and nail. Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). I hold on to things like Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things,” All things, ALL THINGS, “Through Christ who gives me strength.” I can even overcome this. We better hold on to those with all that we’ve got. We’ve got to remember that this is survivable through the power of Christ at work within us. We’ve got to hang on to that.
He is Available (20:26)
Another thing I’ll hold on to in my beliefs is God makes Himself completely available to us in our times of trouble. He makes himself completely available. My reflex reaction is, “God, where the heck are you right now? Why do you seem so silent?” Maybe I’m the only one that reacts that way, but it sure feels that way sometimes.
When you’re going through adversity, the temptation is to believe that you’re all alone. I want you to look around you’re not alone you’re not alone in this place. The scripture I’ve been holding on to all week is a verse out of Psalm 34 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. He rescues those whose spirits are crushed the righteous person faces many trials but the Lord comes to the rescue.” (Psalms 34:18-19 NLT) I add “every single time”. I think that knowing that God is there right in the middle of the circumstances and the trouble that you and I are going through and that He can make a difference. The difference between somebody that lives with a defeated mentality and somebody who lives with the spirit of an overcomer.
I litter in my life with symbols and things that remind me of this all the time. It’s one of the reasons why I continue to wear the Immeasurably More bracelets, because it reminds me that God is “able to do immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20) One of reasons I keep that stupid rubber band on my wrist it says “expand” on it, because I know God is stretching me in moments where I think I’m unstretchable. It’s the reason I have tattoos all over my arms because I’m stupid and I can’t remember and so I need it permanent.I don’t recommend that for everybody else, but for me it’s necessary.
I need to remember that we have this hope, meaning Jesus, as an anchor for my soul (Hebrews 6:19).I need to remember that I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine (Song of Solomon 6:3). I need to remember that God is leading and directing my paths, in those moments. I think that the last one is the hardest one to hold on to. God is totally committed to forming something worthwhile and good out of your adversity. Romans 8:28 says, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” Sometimes it’s hard to believe that, especially when we are in the middle of that thing. It’s hard for us to see it, but hindsight always reveals how God works.
Our Life, Our Reality (23:48)
About 14 years ago my wife’s sister, her next oldest sister, was getting ready to get married — Her wedding day. She’s ready in her dress. My wife, is her Maid of Honor. All of her sisters in there and the wedding party. It’s time for the wedding, and the groom hasn’t arrived. Five minutes passed, he’s still not there. We get a phone call that he’s been in a head-on collision with the telephone pole. He is being airlifted in the helicopter to Bayfront Medical Center in Tampa. As Shayla’s sister Shannon runs out and jumps in a car with her parents to drive to the hospital, we get a phone call that her finance Mark, dies in flight.
You know, the kind of thing you hear about in movies, but not real life. Kind of like this week. it’s the thing you see on TV but it’s not reality for you, but it becomes reality really fast. Doesn’t it? I remember thinking as I watched Shannon in a padded room banging her fists on a wall – What good could possibly come out of this?
I saw a young lady stand firm in her faith, and over the next year God began to do a work. Before long she was being brought in on national TV shows and she was telling people that Jesus saves, and transforms, and bringing hope to a lot of broken people. What the enemy meant for evil God turned around and made it good. It’s not an exaggeration to say that we’ve been through some tough times this week. But I believe that we’ve got to be firm in what we believe if we’re going to overcome.
What is Fuzzy Right Now? (25:58)
So my question to you today is, what are you fuzzy on when it comes to your beliefs? Are you a little fuzzy on who the author of good and evil is today? Are you a little fuzzy about how much adversity God will allow to come your way? Are you fuzzy on how available and tender God is for you right here in this moment? Are you a little fuzzy about the fact that God can make something good out of your heartbreak? I think that this is something we’ve got to know, and we’ve got to stand firm on, and we’ve got to be sure of if we’re going to be overcomer. 1. What we believe
2. How we Grieve (26:42)
I want to explain that because – What do I mean by how we grieve? I think some of us have got to learn to let go of some unrealistic expectations in life, and just learn to squarely face the evil and the ugliness this world has and grieve it. Some of us, we’ve never learned to feel terrible sadness because we’re told all the time just be strong, just be strong, just be strong. Which I think is the wrong thing to say in this moment. I think God created us as beings with emotions so that we can allow those emotions to process in our life and some of us, we need to go through some emotions right now. We’re trying to be strong, when really we need to be weak. It’s when we’re weak that God can do is greatest work in our life. When God all of a sudden becomes strong Some of us, we need to cry, and cry, and cry until the tears run dry and then cry some more. Then after we’ve cried, we need to get up and start moving forward in our life. I believe that right now is a season where we need to grieve. We need to let some emotions out and allow those things to happen.
Our Hope (27:55)
Here’s the thing, in our grieving 1 Thessalonians tells us,”Not to grieve like those who don’t have hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 NLT). We have a hope because we serve a God who is still alive, and still on the throne. So while we grieve, the pain that we’re experiencing and while we grieve the hurt that we are having, we don’t have to grieve like there’s nothing on the other side of that because there is. We serve a good God who still has great things in plan for us. If we can keep our eyes focused on that, God wants to bring us through our grief to the hope and the overcoming spirit that He has for each and every one of us. Today, I think it’s important for us to decide that I’m not going to go and I’m not going suppress these things. I’m going to cry and I’m going cry it out. I’m going grieve, and
I’m going to grieve with my kids, so they know that this is okay for them to do. I don’t have to be strong, they don’t have to be strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-11). They need to know that when were weak is when Christ’s strength come in us. Then after we cry we’re going to get up and we’re going to start to move forward God doesn’t want us to stay here. He wants us to start moving towards the light instead of staying in the darkness. He wants us to to hope instead of allowing defeat to keep its hooks in our lives. We’re gonna overcome. I believe it’s going to come down to 1. What we believe 2. How we grieve
3. Who we lean on (29:17)
It’s gonna come down to the relationships in our lives. In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 26: 37-38, He says, “They took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him and began to be sorrowful in trouble. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.'” Jesus at as his darkest moment run before He’s about to go through the worst trouble on earth, the Cross, says I need people.
What is Reality? (29:48)
There’s some ironies in Christianity that just blow my mind. You think about the idea of singing and worshiping God, you’d think when you pour out your soul, you would end up empty in worship. The reality is, if you’re a Christ follower, when you come here and you worship you don’t end up empty, but you go away full. Another irony is this idea of serving. You think, well if I served I would get tired, and I would be overwhelmed, and I would be exhausted. But you talk to people that are serving, they’re not tired and exhausted. They’re energized!
It’s an irony when you think about giving. You think, if I gave I would be impoverished. If I gave I would feel cheated. But the reality is, you talk to somebody that gives, they don’t feel in poverty or cheated. They feel ennoble, they feel like they’re making a difference with their resources. In the same way, when adversity and hardship come your way, when you decide to say, “I need to talk to somebody right now.” Every single one of us hates to be dependent. Every one of us hates not being able to do things on our own. It’s hard to walk them to somebody say, “Hey, it’s not going well with me right now.”
When Dreams Are Destroyed (31:15)
I know what that feeling is like because almost 11 years ago we got a call from a doctor that said it’s time for you to come in to get the results of all your testing. We went in to see that doctor. We heard the news that my wife and I we would never have kids. We’d planned our whole life around our children. We’d bought our dream home. We are those people that had such a plan, we already had rooms decorated. We had a boy’s room, and a girl’s room decorated fully for them.We had names picked out up on the wall. The little boy’s room was Timothy James McCormick III. We were gonna call him Tripp. My wife fell in love with a girl’s name that we’re gonna call a little girl, Collins Elizabeth McCormick.
That day, all of our hopes, all of our dreams were destroyed. We faced the greatest adversity we’d ever faced. Every day that I would come home, I would see those rooms, empty. Empty, like a lot of parents are going walk into their homes this week, and next week, the months to follow. They’re going to look the little boy in their little girl’s room and realize that these children are never coming home. I remember in that moment, that we chose to make a decision. We chose to say, you know what, God, we don’t care what our circumstances say. In this moment, we’re going to choose to worship you in spite of what everything around us says. I remember on that car ride home, we were singing and worshiping God, with tears running down our faces grieving that moment, heading straight to our friend’s house.
We knew that we could not do this alone. When we got to their house, they answered the door and they’re like, “What’s going on?” There were tears down our face. We said, “Man, it’s not good.” We sat in their bedroom and we cried all night.
Attitude of an Overcomer (33:29)
You would think at the end of that, I would feel like I was a loser, a less than. But that’s not how I felt at all. I felt stronger than I’d ever felt my life, because there was a weight that I was not meant to carry by myself. The Bible tells us that we can confess our sins one to another so that we can find healing (James 5:16). I think that would be really well translated today. You can confess your pain to one another so you can start to find healing. You can confess your hurt to one another so that you can start to move on from that pain. So that you can adopt the attitude of an overcomer.
Romans tells us that “We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us (Romans 8:37 NKJV). Today, I want you to know that you’re more than a conqueror. God wants you to have hope and not despair. That he wants you to be victors, not victims. It’s going to start with how you respond in this moment. We’re going to end service a little bit differently today than we normally do.
Begin to Heal (34:47)
I think today is not a day for us to sit back, but today is a day for us to move forward. Today is the day for us to begin the process of healing in our lives. We’re going to have the worship team actually sing some songs here. I’m going to ask you all to stand and we have some of our elders and and some people that we’ve asked to come down forward to be available to pray.
Here’s what I know, as we join together here maybe some of you guys are going through some things and you’re a little fuzzy on what you believe. Maybe you need to solidify that today maybe you need to pray with somebody. Maybe you’ve never started a relationship with Jesus. These people down front are available to pray with you to lead you. Maybe you’re here and you feel like you’re all alone. I want you to know you’re not alone. Let’s realize that we’re not in this by ourselves, but we’re in this together.
Will you be a Victim or Victor? (35:46)
How we respond in this moment is going to determine whether we become a victim or we get victory over this. I believe that we can be the light, and the change that our world needs to see.
But it’s got to start right here, right now, with us – in our lives. We can allow God to do that healing inside of us.