Sabbath Evening Service

Shawn Boonstra presents his final message at camp meeting titled "Hope for Today III".

I, I'm going to gamble's the wrong word for an Adventist preacher, but I'm gonna gamble on, so, oh, you've got it up there. Let me push the button and see if this is going. Oh, nope. I, I got two at once. There we go. I, I'm gonna gamble sanctified gambling. I was looking through my notes and for 20 years I've been writing down which stories I've told in which cities over the years, and I went to Lincoln, Nebraska and the record is 14, 15 years ago, somewhere in there.

And all it says is you told a bunch of stories. I. They wasn't an idiot. I was like, really? Which ones? It's like, oh, I thought, I guess I would remember. So there is a chance I'm going to get going tonight. And you're gonna say, you know what? I've heard Sean tell that story somewhere sometime in the past.

And so I'm gonna ask you if I, if I gamble on that tonight and start telling some story, there's a method to the madness. I really do want to talk about this tonight, but if I tell a story you've heard before, will you forgive me? Yeah, you have to, right? The Bible says if you do not forgive your neighbor, you can't go into the kingdom of heaven, so you got no choice.

None at all. Let me pray. Father in heaven this evening, as we turn to the pages of this book, I know it's not like the other books on my shelf because in here I heard your voice and I knew you were real, and I met Jesus. I've seen that Peter writes, were Born again by the Word of God, and I'm asking that that would happen for all of us.

Whether we've walked with him forever or never have that we would be changed. That we would see the world the way he does, the way that you do, father, that we would see people the way you see them, and that we could leave here a little more like Jesus. Forgive my sins. I ask that you'd make me fit to be here.

I, I don't deserve to get up in front of your people at all except that you would cover me with the blood of Christ and take a coal from heaven's altar and touch my lips with it so that I could say things that are pleasing to you. I guess I, I just want to know, father, that you're smiling when I'm done, because I was faithful and I asked for that privilege tonight in Jesus' name.

Amen. I confess to you this morning that one of the reasons that I, I have been taking my shoes off when I preach. For the last, oh, I don't know. I guess I've been doing that for about a quarter century, taking my shoes off. One of them is I'm terrified of public speaking. I have been my entire life, and it's only getting worse as I get older.

It's like, ugh. I laid awake all night last night knowing that I was gonna be preaching this morning. It terrifies me. And there's something about taking your shoes off that makes you think, ah, Ah, I can relax just a tiny little bit. The other bit is, is that I'm really, really clumsy. And I remember in one campaign I was busy speaking and I was quoting that verse from the Psalms.

Thy word is a lamp and to my, and I didn't get the word feet out, and I fell off the platform into the audience because I couldn't feel the edge of the stage with my shoes on. And now with my shoes off, I know exactly where that is. Doesn't mean I won't fall into the front row, but at least I'll know when it's coming.

There's that plus. Plus people. Listen, why do you do this all the time? Is it because you're walking on holy ground after you pray? I wish that was the reason that would be sanctified. No, no, it's, it's all very pragmatic. I have two different size feet. You can't see it at the back, but this one's an 11 and that one's an nine and a half because I caught one of them in a piece of an equipment on a construction site when I was 19 years old, and it got squashed.

Kind of flat and wide, and now they're two different lengths. And I'm Dutch, so I'm too cheap to buy two pairs of shoes. So I buy, you know, one's an 11, one's a nine and a half, I buy an 11, and I don't wear them. The good news is they'll last till Jesus comes because I only wear 'em between the car and the pulpit.


The fear of speaking for me is real. People don't believe it. They said, Shawn, you've been doing this 30 years and you seem like you feel comfortable upfront. I'm not. Not, I'm not, this is my absolute worst fear, what I'm doing right now. Uh, and, and somehow God smiled and said, well, I know what I want you to do for a living.

You're gonna be a public evangelist, not, are you only gonna stand in front of people? It might be like thousands of hostile people that don't agree with you whatsoever. And I think that's what I want you to do for a living. So what I've done every year is I have run to my Bible and I find a text.

Usually one a year. That's a promise from God and I clinging to it like a life preserver. I hang onto that for dear life all year long, and there are a few of those that have risen to the top. Let me show you some of those because you might find some courage here tonight to share your faith with somebody.

Using these life preservers. Here's my favorite, Ecclesiastes three 11. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity in their hearts. Oh, I love that. I love the fact that it says God has put eternity in the human heart. That means you can fill a hole with angry atheists. You could put 10,000 angry atheists in a hole.

And I know God has already spoken to them before I ever open up my mouth. They have eternity in their hearts. Some years ago, um, cliff Goldstein called me. We're we're, we're fairly good friends. You know the guy who edits the Sabbath school quarterly and we're pretty good friends, and he said, Sean, Sean, Sean, you gotta watch a funeral.

I said, watch a funeral. That sounds depressing. He says, no, it's on the BBC's website. You gotta watch it. I said, well, well, who is it? He said, Douglas Adams. I said, Douglas a. Oh, Douglas Adams wrote the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He died. Yeah, he's dead. Well, why would I wanna watch that funeral? He was an atheist.

Like, But who wants to Atheist funerals are the saddest thing on earth. What do you say at an atheist funeral? It's just so long. That's it. That's the whole funeral. And there's not much. I says, no, you gotta watch this. You gotta wa So I watched it. Yes. And everybody gathered and, and, and they were all there.

And Richard Dawkins gave the eulogy twice, and he did it once in England and he did it once in Santa Barbara. And he said, this is depressing Cliff. I don't wanna watch this Richard Dawkins giving you. He says, no, no. Listen to it. Listen to it. Listen to it. You'll see. And I'm listening. And suddenly Dawkin starts to say, we were cheated.

He died far too young and he's supposed to keep on going. And his life meant something. And I thought, aha. Aha. There it is. Busted. Busted. You've got eternity in the heart. You can tell yourself logically all you want, that you're gonna die one day, and we all are. If Jesus doesn't come, we're all going to punch the clock.

At some point it's going to happen logically. We know that logically we can come to peace with that. But the minute you stand by the grave of somebody you love, your heart screams. No, this is wrong. Why? Why is it wrong if everybody dies? Why is that wrong? Why do you feel cheated when somebody dies young?

It's because we all have eternity in the human heart. You can work with that. Everybody knows that God is there at some level. They don't really disbelieve in the presence of God or the existence of God. They more or less are angry at him. There's eternity in the human heart. I cling to that like a life preserver.

All right. Oh Lord, I'm gonna go out there because I know. You got there first. If there's one thing you walk outta here with tonight, it's that one sentence. God gets there first every single time here. Oh, I pushed the wrong button. That's the one in the middle. Let's go forward. There we go. Isaiah 54. I did talk about this in 2009 in this church in October.

I've read this text aloud that was in my notes. Enlarge the place of your tent. Let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings. Do not spare. Lengthen your cords. Strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left. Your descendants will inherit the nations and make the desolate cities inhabited.

Fear not for you shall not be ashamed. Amen. Oh, I clinging to that one a lot. And you know what? I'll tell you what, after 30 years, not once, as the Lord let me go to shame, when I step out in faith to share my faith with people who would like to hear or maybe not like to hear even about Jesus Christ, not once.

Not once have I ever felt the shame. This is a famous verse, God used this verse to change the world back in, I wanna say 1792 in a, in a meeting of ministers in North Hampton, England, or maybe it was Nottingham. I know it started with an N, and there was a humble shoe cobbler there by the name of William Carey, and he was so humble that.

That when people called him a shoemaker, he would stop them. He says, no, I hope to be a shoemaker one day. I'm a shoe cobbler. And he stood up in this meeting of ministers and he read this text out loud. And this was a group of ministers that believe, as I mentioned this morning, that you're either saved or lost the day you're born and there's nothing you can do to change it.

So they don't believe in evangelism, they don't believe in missions. And William Carey said, it sounds to me like God is daring us to go out and share the gospel. And they were really skeptical. And after he got off the platform, he thought to himself, well, if I'm gonna preach it, I should probably do it.

And he got on a boat, went to India into a life of hardship, and almost single-handedly launched the modern missionary movement and changed the face of Christianity all over the planet. Not ashamed. Oh, I cling to this one too. Daniel 12 verse four. One of the most abused verses in Adventist evangelism.

Here's how it often preached, and I would be lying if I said, I have never preached it this way, but you, Daniel, shut up the word, seal the book. Till the time of the end, many will run to and fro and knowledge shall increase. Do, do you know what we often do with that? Ha ho. See, look at the scientific advancements.

Do you know that the knowledge on the internet is growing exponentially every passing year? And, and look at the way we travel. Like I lived in LA for a while. Running two and fro is an exaggeration. Parking two and fro on the 4 0 5 seems a little more likely. But we look at that, look how fast we travel.

You can get anywhere in the planet in one day, therefore, Jesus is about to come. That is not what that verse says. It's not what it says at all. What did it just say to Daniel? Shut up. The words, seal the book till the time of the end. What are we talking about? The book of Daniel many will run to and fro.

The word there in the original is, shoot. It's kind of like the word shut, shut the door with an lau over the u shoot. What is that? Well, that, that is the word used to describe rowing a boat back and forth across the stream. Not like you're running a little fairy service. Why would that word be there?

Because it was used as a metaphor for the work of scribes whose eyes would go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, across the page, over and over, except they didn't go left to right. It's Hebrew. They went this way and they went back and forth. What's the promise? At the end of time, many people will be interested in the book of Daniel, and knowledge of that will increase.

I've clung to that like a life preserver, and I can tell you every single time by faith we've hung out a shingle. The public shows up because especially right now, they wanna know what in the world is going on. It's promise from God. Here's another one. After these things, I looked and behold a great multitude, which no one could number.

Here's God keeping his promise to Abraham, and I keep looking at the studies. Sean, I saw a study the other day, Christianity's in decline in the West and it's, yeah, maybe so. Maybe, but did you know that church attendance in America today is still double what it was the day this became a nation? It's still double today, what?

It was in 1789 when the Constitution was ratified. But it doesn't really depend on the statistics. The Bible says, look forward to this. We don't die in darkness as God's people. This is the end result and whatever your tiny contribution, whatever my tiny contribution is to God's. Kingdom. Here's the end result.

A multitude that nobody can number. You can't lose working for God. It doesn't matter what it looks like that day, you can't, oh, here's another one. After these things, I saw another angel coming down from heaven. Heaven, great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. Again, we don't peter out.

We don't die with a whimper in the dark. The Bible says that before Jesus comes, the world will be illuminated with the name of Jesus Christ. I cling to these, I cling to them and cling to them. But there is one passage in particular that has changed my perspective on the work a thousand percent. It is a story that is found in Acts chapter four 14.

It's possibly one of my favorites. Here's what it says. And in Lira, so if you can picture Turkey in your mind, Asia Miner Lira, it's gonna be backwards for the choir. Yes, Lira's about a third of the way over across Turkey, or for the choir, third of the way over from Turkey, and then down towards the south half O of that country.

It's a city in Asia Minor and in Lira, a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting a cripple from his mother's womb who had never walked. This man heard Paul speaking and Paul observing him intently. What is Paul doing? What is he doing? I mean, he's preaching, but what else is he doing? He's observing intently.

Why? Seeing that he had faith. Sometimes God's people talk too much. We do. We just launch out into the public and we start talking to people, and you haven't got a clue who you're talking to. Paul spent his time observing his audience. My goodness, what a difference that makes. You'll see why in a moment, he's watching, he's observing, looking for something.

He's looking for faith, seeing that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, stand up straight on your feet, and he leaped and walked. It's not like he remembered how to walk. He's never done it before, and he's leaping and he's walking. Now. When the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices saying in the Lily Ian language, I, I'm a bit of a linguistic nerd and I don't know what the li language is.

That's one of the ones I'm gonna look up in heaven. I want to hear somebody speak like Ian. What Paul had done, they raised their voice as saying in the Li Ian language, watch this, the Gods have come down to us in the likeness of men, Barnabas, they called Zeus or Jupiter, chief of the Gods. And Paul Hermes Mercury, because he was.

The chief speaker, of course, Hermes was the messenger, God, the, the ancient Egyptians had a philosopher that they revered so deeply that the Greeks looked at this guy and they called him Hermes Tris, Magus, Hermes the thre blessed philosopher, and they. Deified him because he taught humanity how to read.

They said, and he taught them philosophy, and they're listening to Paul. This must be Hermes himself. He's the chief speaker. Then the priest of Zeus whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates intending to sacrifice with the multitudes. That is an unmitigated disaster of an evangelistic meeting.

Oh, really? I, I picture them in the towns. Where'd everybody go? Paul? I, I don't know, man. They're kind of like people on the beach. In 1755 in Lisbon, the big earthquake happens. Everybody runs down to the beach. Where'd the ocean go? And 10 minutes later they found out where the ocean went, when it came back as a tsunami.

Woo. Where'd everybody go? Paul? I don't know. Here they come. They're leading an ox. They're gonna offer sacrifice and worship these two. That is a disaster. I would not wanna report that to the conference president. How'd it go? Enlist rash Sean. Well, pretty good people come out and listen. Yeah. Yeah. They came out and listen.

Well, did they respond? Oh, did they respond? I mean, we had some amazing things happen there. Tell me about it, Sean. Well, we even had a healing. A guy who's never walked in his whole life, got up. He didn't just get up. He leaped. He leaped. Oh, that's fantastic. Did you start the Lister Seventh Day Adventist Church?

Well, not exactly sir, because, well, right now they're worshiping me. We'll get past that, but you know, right now it's, it's, it's the Church of Shawn, but we'll get, this is a disaster. But Paul doesn't quit because he sees the opportunity in the disaster. He knows what's actually going on. He recognizes that often people respond.

Amen. For the right reasons in the wrong way, and they're watching. Here's the story. But when the Apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you. The last thing your neighbor wants is another religious, know-it-all.

Trust me, the world's full of them. Turn on religious television some weekend and you will find them lined up back to back. The world doesn't want another religious know-it-all. They're sick of them. They're absolutely sick and tired of them. It's one of the reasons that church is in decline in the Western world.

Th they don't want you as an expert. They want to know you as a sinner. Believe it or not, they wanna know that there's hope for them. You cannot get on a pedestal if you wanna lead people to Christ, because here's what I've discovered over the last 30 years. They may not know what I know from the book of Daniel.

They may not be able to chart out 18 4 4, but most of the people that I have had the privilege of working with over the last 30 years have been closer to God than me. They don't know what I know, but they love him more profoundly than I do. I learn more from these people than they will ever learn from me.

Every single time. God brings the most amazing people. Here's what people need. We're just like you. It's okay to be a human being. It's okay to smile. It's okay to make mistakes. It's okay that you have a broken life because what people need is not you. They need Jesus and they need to know what it is you found that gave you hope.

That's what they need to know. Amen. We are men with the same nature as you and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God. Now watch this saints. This should ring some alarm bells in your brain. What's the next thing He preaches? The living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them.

Yes. If you're an Adventist, that should ring a bell right now. That should run a flag right up your pole, right? It's like that's the first Angel's message. That's not brand new in our generation that didn't drop out of the sky in the 18 hundreds. That's been the message since the day we were escorted out of Eden.

Read your Bible carefully. Who does Nehemiah pray to in the reconstruction project? The God who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the fountains of waters. When Jonah's on the ship and he's sleeping and they're waking him up. The sailors, who are you? Where do you come from? Who do you pray to? And he says, I'm a Hebrew and I worship the God who made the heavens and the earth.

When the apostles are beaten and they come back home after getting persecuted for their faith, they rejoice to the God who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the fountains of waters. The message that God has been delivering to the world has been worship Him who made since the moment we walked out of the Garden of Eden.

It's not brand new. So now watch this. This is one of the biggest cultural misunderstandings in the history of Christian evangelism. Doesn't speak their language. They think that he is a pagan God, and yet at the end of the day, he still has to deliver the message that God has for this world in spite of it.

Now doesn't mean that context isn't important. You do need to understand the people you talk to. You do need to understand how they think, how they live. All of those things, but at the end of the day, you still have to get down to introducing them to God. You stick with the message that God gave us. It's the only thing, honestly that works.

You try anything else will not work. Like preaching the message, God gave this movement, who made the heaven, the earth, the see and all things in them. Who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways? What's that? That's the theme of the great controversy. God is allowing evil to run its course, says, you know what?

I don't force anybody. I'm gonna let the devil show the universe that he's a liar and a murderer. We're gonna let this whole thing play out. So I don't take anybody's freedom of choice away. I'm gonna let everybody go in their own direction. So you have the first Angel's message in this story, and everybody's allowed to go their own way.

That's the theme of the great controversy. But then comes the thing that makes me somewhat courageous. It's this next statement. What, where did my statement go? Nevertheless, he did not leave himself without witness. God lets everybody go wherever they're gonna go, but he doesn't abandon humanity. He doesn't leave himself without witness.

And here's what I've discovered over 30 years, God always gets there ahead of me. And if we were to spend more time listening to people and knowing them and loving them, you would find out God's been working with them before you ever met them. Amen. I mean, often we barge into somebody's life and we start dumping facts on them.

Like evangelism is the conveyance of information. We think that's what evangelism is. That's 5%. 95% of soul-winning happens in a personal relationship with honest to goodness human beings. 95%, I can tell you a week into a campaign who's getting baptized cuz I've been in their home. I know who it'll be.

It's relationships. It's not the conveyance of information. And when you get into those homes, you suddenly find out that God's already been talking to them before you ever showed up, and they're already almost into the church. You and I do not convert people. Amen. We seek the converting. That's right. God converts people.

You can't argue people to Christ. It has never worked in 2000 years and I'm good at arguing. Ooh, I'm good at arguing. When I met Gene, I thought everybody liked to argue like my brothers and I did. We would argue even after we knew we were wrong. You keep on going for another three hours, so we're out for dinner on our second date and Gene's sitting there and.

This discussion comes up. It's the dumbest discussion in the world, which word is older, purple, or violet? So I built my case for purple because it's Greek and violet is Latin. And Greek was in use well before Latin, and the Romans were even using Greek up through the early earliest years of the empire in their academies in schools.

And so clearly purple is older. And my wife rolled her eyes and changed the subject, but I was so vexed about it. I went home and wrote her three more pages on it and delivered it the next day. Yeah, the romantic that I am, that's a Dutch romance for you there. I'll prove you wrong. You think that wins people to Christ?

It never has. Not once in 2000 years. Proving people wrong is not evangelism. It happens in relationship. And if you take the time to know and love people, you'll find out God got there first. He never leaves himself without witness. Let me give you a few stories before I end tonight, although I heard I can go till like 1159.

This is the Taj Mahal, as you see it from space. Not entirely sure. I paid for the license for Google Earth, but I'm not entirely sure we're not. Are you broadcasting

the Taj Mahal from This is one of those few places on the planet that's as good as you hoped it would be when you get there. There are only a handful of those anywhere on the planet. You know what it's like with most things, right? You get the brochure, you get all excited. I'm finally gonna see this place.

And when you get there, it's a massive letdown. Any Texans in the room?

Yeah, about to step on some Texan toes. All my life I wanted to see the Alamo. Oh, my dad learned English by reading Western, so I grew up on John Wayne and it's like, oh, I gotta see the Alamo. And all my life I dreamed of it. And then when I was about 19 years old, I made the journey to Texas, to San Antonio to see the Alamo and sorry Texans.

It's itty bitty. It's this little tinny thing, and it's like I half expected John Wayne to come out of there. He doesn't live there at all. It's downtown by the mall. They sell lingerie right beside. The animal, most things are a disappointment, not the Taj Mahal. Mm-hmm. This has been called a teardrop on the cheek of the world.

Why does it exist? In the 16 hundreds, a young prince by the name of Sha Jahan, he went to the Mina Bazaar. The Mina Bazaar was for women only except one day a month. Wow. One day a month, men were allowed to go and they weren't there shopping for goods. They were shopping for wives. That's what they were shopping for.

And the prince goes in and he sees a girl he's never seen before. It's the prime minister's daughter, and she is stunning. And she sells Jules. And he goes over and he talks to her and her name is Muta. And he talks to her for a moment. He says, how much is this? It's a piece of cut glass. It was fairly large and.

And she said, well sir, you, you can't afford that. Teasing him. And he got a little indignant. His pride was wounded. He pulled out 10,000 rupees, put it on the table, picked it up and walked away. But he walked away smitten. And he went to talk to his dad. He said, moon TAs Mahal, you know who she is? Yeah.

Prime Minister's daughter. He says, I wanna marry her dad. Now that wasn't done in those days. You didn't marry for love. You married for politics, and, but his dad had married for love. And said, okay son, but we gotta wait for the stars to align. They were into astrology. The family, we gotta wait for the stars to align.

You can marry her, but you gotta wait five years. So he puts in the five years they get married happily ever after. It was everything that he hoped and she was so beautiful. And then she died giving birth to their 14th child. You can you imagine the bill at Union College, 14 of them. It's like, 14. He's so grief stricken that he disappears into his bedroom and he doesn't come out for eight days.

The guard standing outside can just hear a low moan. He's miserable and they say that when he came out, his hair started to granny. He looked 20 years older. When he came out, he was so broken. Some records indicate he contemplated suicide cuz he didn't know how to go on without her. And so his advisor said, why don't you build something to her memory instead of harming yourself?

So he built this. It's a white marble tomb up against the river. It's everything you could imagine. It is stunning white marble. It's got, I don't think the laser will work on these brilliance screens, but at the front of the building, they're the columns by the door and there's. Inlaid black marble Arab, Arabic, calligraphy, and it's set in there so perfectly.

You can't feel the seam when you run your finger over the edge. And the letters get wider as they go up the column so that when you stand at the bottom, they look perfectly parallel. They accounted for perspec. This place is beautiful. But it wasn't the tomb so much that brought me there. I wanted to go and visit this for another reason.

I had once been stuck in Brazil for a while. I was in Sao Paulo and I like being stuck in Sao Paulo. Don't get, don't get me wrong, Brazilians, but I ran outta books and there's no such thing as a Kindle in those days. And I ran out of English reading material and so I thought, where am I? They've got 30 million people in one town.

There's gotta be an English bookstore somewhere. I went into town and I found a store that had one English book. On gardening. I hate gardening. My father used to put in like 80 acres of potatoes, and guess whose job it was in the frost to dig those things out and skin my knuckles on their, I don't like gardening, but it was in English, so I read it and that's when I found out about this place.

The landscape design in front of the Taj Mahal. Everybody stands at the bottom of this to take a picture. This is the oldest landscape design on the face of the planet. Yes, the Mogul emperors borrowed it from the Persians. The Persians borrowed it from the ancient Mesopotamians. It is the oldest landscaping design on the face of the planet.

It's called a walled garden. Not very complicated, cuz you know, had a wall around it and it was beautiful back in the day. And in the middle of this garden, there's a fountain. It's known as the fountain of life in the midst of the garden. Now that should start ringing some bells. A fountain of life in the midst of the garden, and from that fountain there run four rivers to the edge of the garden.

It used to be filled with fruit trees and exotic animals. What is that? It's called a walled garden in Persian. I'll mispronounce it, I'll slaughter it, but walled garden is pot deso. It's where we get the word paradise. This is a Paradise Garden, and it's planted in one of the most visited places on the face of the planet.

And if you look at it, there's a beloved bride who has died and she's just outside the garden, and he puts her right beside the garden in the hopes that one day she will join the Prince in Paradise. One more time. What is that? That's the gospel on display in one of the most visited places on earth. And see people say, well, okay Shawn, but you know, that's a coincidence.

It's like, is it? I've started collecting stories over the years and I don't believe there are any coincidences anymore. I believe God gets everywhere first and that he's more active in winning souls to Christ than we are. He's busy. One of my favorite places, south America, Pacha Kup was the ninth Inca Emperor, and under him, the Empire grew to the.

To its height in the 14 hundreds. It was as tall as the Roman Empire was wide. They did it without the wheel. They did it without a written language. It was magnificent, and I'd always wanted to go and see Inca ruins up in the Andes. I got my chance a few years ago when I held meetings in Mira Flores, Mira Flores.

Is a district in Lima, in the, in the city, and it's kind of upscale business people, professors, lawyers, bankers, and they said, would you, would you try holding evangelistic meetings? I. There. I said, well, let's take a try at it and let's see what happens. Every morning I get up and I go for a walk somewhere between four and eight miles, and I do my Bible reading then and I pray when I'm walking and that kind of stuff.

And Amira Flores, I'm out for my early morning walk and I went around a corner and I found this, it's a pyramid built by the Lima Indians, not the Incas, but the Lima Indians, for whom the city of Lima is named. And they had just found it. It used to be a hill just months earlier. They excavated it. It was a hill that was owned by the Seventh Day Adventist Church and we sold it and the developers started to dig and discovered they can't develop anything here anymore.

There's a pyramid underneath, I think. I'm not saying the Lord did that to the developers to save the church, but hey, you know, it's like pretty convenient. We sold it right on time, and this thing is a marvel. You get up close and all the bricks are not laid the way we would expect. They're vertical with gaps in between.

Why? It's a seismically active zone. Very much so. They get earthquakes. So when they built the Lima Indians, they built for earthquakes and this thing withstood centuries of earthquakes back and forth. Well, the stuff we build still crumbles. What did they use it for? Nice sacrifice to the shark. God, you can still find human remains up on top of this thing.

They're digging around and they sacrificed to the shark gods. Now I want you to remember that pyramid, because you're gonna need it. In a couple of minutes from there, after I was done the meetings, I went up to Cusco. A lot of you have been to Cusco. Everybody should go to Cusco. Patek built this city.

When you get there today, it's all Spanish architecture, but if you look at the bottoms of the buildings, the foundations are different, different stones. That's because the entire city was built by the Incas, but when we showed up, we bulldozed the buildings, used the foundations, and put our buildings on top.

It's the most unusual city. First of all, you're gasping for air up there. It's at 10,000 feet. So I, I, I decided I was gonna walk to my hotel carrying my bags at 10,000 feet. You notice it. Then I started to explore the city, and it's odd. The two main streets are not perpendicular. They're, they're at a, an angle like this, a little bit off.

We wouldn't build, we would build perpendicular streets and people wondered forever why. Why have a big old mystery and why this town square the way that it is? And turns out Patrick Cek missed the ocean when he was up at 10,000 feet. So he had his soldiers without wheels go get White Beach sand and they covered the entire square.

A hundred by 300 feet in White Beach sand, one foot deep so he could have a beach at 10,000 feet. Right. We need one of those in Nebraska. You know, it's like, yeah. Yeah. Why are the streets like this? One night? Somebody's outside and they figured it out. At one Equinox, this street lines up with the Milky Way and at the other Equinox, this street lines up with the Milky Way.

The whole town's a calendar. You know what day it is? By looking down the street and comparing it to the night sky. These people were brilliant. You go down the hill a little bit to Morde. This is an in of greenhouse. There's some people way down at the bottom that'll give you a sense of scale. This thing's brilliant.

They can grow whatever they want in there. Stuff that can't tolerate cold or wind, they plant at the bottom. Stuff that can tolerate cold and wind. They plant at the top. They could grow whatever they wanted up in the top of the Andes. These people were brilliant. You go down to about 8,500 feet and you get to this.

Everybody knows this one. Yeah, Machu Picchu, except that's not Machu Picchu. You're standing on Machu Picchu. When you take that picture, it's Picchu and that's where the city is. And I just threw that in there cuz I learned that. And it makes me feel smart. This city is remarkable. I mean, the wooden roofs have gone away, but it's still standing.

You can see all the big, beautiful squares and open space. They had water running down by some of the staircases. I don't know how they were pumping the water. I haven't got a clue, but I mean it's, it's absolutely brilliant. Now you can see about, I don't know, not quite halfway over. There's a pyramid way there at the back of that thing.

I don't think my laser pointer will it. No pointless on there, but I can works there, not there. Okay, but you could see the pyramid. Amen. Can you see the pyramid? How about you at the back? Can you see the, alright. That's where they worship the sun. Many ancient cultures worship the sun. They called the sun God inti.

That's what they called him. And if you wanna see Machu Picchu, right, you gotta get up there before the sun comes up because they worship the sun. The whole thing's built for this, and you want to be there. When the sun comes up over the hill and lights the city, you'll suddenly realize why it's built the way that it is on top of that pyramid is this stone.

It's known as the inana. The inana means the hitching post of the sun. It was a teaching tool. These people weren't dumb. They knew there was no leash from this poach to the sun from this post up to the sun. It was just a teaching tool, and it was there. So the priest could say, look, there's regularity to our God.

I know the days get shorter and shorter in June. But eventually he's gonna come back. There's a leash here. There's a tether to the sun, just a teaching tool. Now, the fact is the priest knew exactly when the sun was gonna come back, and the days were gonna get longer because just down the hill is something known as the solar observatory.

You notice that's not a good floor for living in. That's because they didn't live in here. What they used it for was this patch of light on the rock. On the shortest day of the year, the top of that patch of light would hit a mark on the rock, and they knew within hours when the days were gonna get longer again.

These people were absolutely brilliant. Now, one day, Patrick Ek, the emperor is standing in front of the Inana looking up into the sky, and a thought pops into his head. My God does the same thing every day. It's so predictable. They know exactly when the days are gonna get longer again. If a cloud comes up and obscures, my God, he's just gone and I can't think of one time he's ever blessed my life once or answered my prayers.

We got this out of a Jesuit journal missionary that went there, and he thinks to himself, what if infant, he's not? God comes back down the pyramid and another thought pops into his head. Well, if he's not God, who is? So he talks to his dad, he said, dad, I noticed a while ago you changed your name. You changed it to Vita Kacha.

Why did you change your name to Vita Kacha? He said, well, because of those Lima Indians down at the coast worship the shark, God, yeah. They didn't always worship the shark God way back when They worshiped the one true creator God, and listened carefully who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the fountains of waters.

His name was via Kacha, so I renamed myself and his honor. And Patek thought to himself, you know what? I wanna do that too. I'm gonna change the whole empire. We're gonna worship the creator around here and the priest of the sun. God got mad. We just built a whole bunch of temples. We're gonna lose face all the money that we've spent on sun worship.

So they call a conference in a city, a great big council. I don't remember which city they did it in. But at the end of the conference, they came up with a sloppy compromise. Um, personally, I don't know for sure, but I don't think Pacha Cek was happy with the outcome. It's just that he was probably bound by it.

And the outcome was this, all the upper classes, they will change and worship the one true creator God. The lower classes will go on using the temples and worship the sun. Within years Zaro and his 200 men show up and they actually are in possession of the gospel. And they kill off all the upper classes gone.

Imagine that whole group of people that had just rediscovered the God who made the heavens of the earth, the sea, and the fountains of waters, and we wiped them out. And I wonder sometimes how often we barge into people's homes, into the cities, and we do exactly the same thing because we talk before we listen.

We don't hear what God's doing in somebody's life before we start telling them what to believe. If we believe God gets there first than I do, you'll spend more time listening to people than talking to them because they will give the hand away. They will tell you where God has been speaking to their heart, and that's where you start.

Never run ahead of God, the sanal. In 1867, the year Canada became a country. Two missionaries, res root, and Boris, they go up into Northern India to work among the Sanal people. Oh man. I'm, look at the time, this story would change your life if I had time, but Mm.

Alright, alright, alright. They get up there and they had the wisdom to listen before they talked. And as they listened to the people, the people told the story in the very beginning, there was one true creator God who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the fountains of waters. They created a, he created a garden and he put a man and a woman in that garden.

Her names were Thacker, uh, Thacker Jew was the God Rao were the people. He put in the garden. The devil showed up and tempted them to drink rice wine. That was their version of the story. When they drank the rice wine, they felt naked and afraid, and they knew there were sinners, and so they had to leave the garden.

Their descendants became really, really wicked, and so God had to destroy the world with a flood. He saved one family on Mount Harta. That's what they called it on Mount Harta. They saved one family. We are the descendants of that family. We came down from there and we began to prosper, and at one point a bunch of us made the journey up over the Kyber pa.

They didn't call it the Kyber Pass, but that's the pass they were referring to when up over the Kyber pass at the top. The weather was so severe, we became afraid, and some of us made a pact with demons that if they were to, to protect us, then we'd worship them. And we've been ashamed ever since and dunno how to fix that.

Scratch Rudin. Borson, because they listened first, looked at each other and said, we have, we got news for you. You know, Thacker Jew has a son. He came into the world, he knows what you did, and he's paid the entire price and you're free to come home. Thousands. In the first baptism because they listened first.

Oh. Oh, the stories. Oh, this one. All right. You know? I know, but you know I'm leaving. You don't ever have to invite me back ever again. It's 14 years. That's right. You know, I may not be here in 14 years. The Diax, I gotta slip this one in just for the Saints. The Diax. When people first got out there from Europe, they ran into the Diax and the Diac had a ceremony.

One day a year. One day a year, they went down by the river and they took two chickens. They sacrificed one for sin. They put the other one on a raft and sent it outta the camp alive, and if it made it around the corner and disappeared, they would rejoice. We're safe. Our names are written in the book, and we're safe.

Amen. I got that one out of a book and the author wrote, whatever you do, don't tell Seventh Day Adventist this story. They're gonna think it's the Day of Atonement. It is the day of Atonement. And that memory's still alive there. Thousands, one after the other, after the other, after the other, when I first moved to America.

All right? We, we don't have that much time. When I first moved to America, Y'all, you're well. Look, as I, obviously I've been here 20 years, I just said, y'all, y'all, the, some of the government offices are messed up places. Just saying, immigration's a mess, everything's a mess. I realized I had to get a social security number when I moved here.

Uh, cuz I'm addicted to things like paychecks and eating and housing, that kind of stuff, and. So I applied for a number and it didn't come. And it didn't come. And it didn't come. And it didn't come. And it didn't come. I got fed up one night. I called them, I called the Social Security Administration. My name is Sean Boonstra, and well, we applied for Social security numbers, my wife and I, and we don't have them yet.

I said, well, that seems odd. How long have you waited? I said, I don't know, been 15, 16 weeks. Shouldn't we have a number by now? Yeah. And I could hear her typing, oh, she said the number's here. I said, great. Give it to me. She said, no, I'm not allowed to give it to you over the phone. You have to come in. Oh. I said, okay.

What about my wife, gene Boonstra? Yeah, she's in there too. Great. I said, I'll be there tomorrow. I was there by 7:00 AM because if you're not the first one at the Social Security Administration, you will be there until five. Amen. Right. You'll be there all day. So. I got there and my little kids in tow were standing outside, seven o'clock in Thousand Oaks at the Social Security Administration, and I'm standing there waiting, waiting.

They opened the door. I'm so excited. I ran up to the counter. I'm Shawn, I'm here for my social security number, please. And she said, you didn't take a number. And I panicked. It was like, oh no, there's a ticket, spitter. So I ran over and I got the number. I beat my wife. I got one, she got two and I got one.

And I ran back. I got a number now. She said, I did not call you.

So I went and sat down, and I'm not kidding, as soon as my backside touched the seat, number one, it's like, oh, you're messing with me now. I was like, all right. Say all right. I, I'm number one. She says, yeah, here it is. I'll write it down. Your card will come in the mail. Great. I went and sat down. Number two, my wife goes up to go get hers.

And I could hear the conversation, are you sure you applied for a number because you're not in the system? I was like, what? I got outta my seat. I went right back over. I said, I talked to somebody here last night. I don't know which one of you it is, but you saw the number and it's in there somewhere and we need it.

And she said, it's not in there now. Sorry, gonna have to apply again. I said, no, no. Here's the deal. I'm gonna go sit over here with my wife and kids. We're just gonna sit over here and we will wait till you find it. And she said, knock yourself out. So went and sat down and my kids got restless. At that time, they were five and three and the government office, and they start playing and running around and it was like playing in front of the security guard and I thought, I better go get them.

So I went to go get them. He said, no, would you relax? He said, this is the most entertaining thing that's gonna happen here all day. I have to sit on this stool for nine hours and, and just sit here and watch. I said, oh, okay. I'll hang out close. He said, so are you new to America? I said, yeah. How'd you know?

He said, you're clearly in your thirties in applying for a social security number. You've either never worked a day in your life or you're new. And I said, well, I'm new. He said, what do you do? He said, I'm a minister. He said, A minister. He reaches inside his coat and pulls out one of those little Gideon Bibles.

And he says, if you're a minister, my son and I have been talking about this business, about the second coming of Christ, and we're confused and can't make heads or tails out of it. And if you're a minister, maybe you know somebody out there who understands Bible prophecy. I said, I teach Bible prophecy. I mean, I just about nor, but at this point I teach that.

He says, really? Gimme a Bible study. I said, are you allowed? It's a government office. He said, yeah, yeah, yeah. What are they gonna do? I'm almost retired anyway, and I sat down. We had a Bible study on the second coming of Christ. Here's the weird thing. Nobody came in while we were having that Bible study.

Nobody. And when we're done, he said, I think, I believe, and I'd like to be a Christian. Would you pray with me? I said, can we do that? And I go, he says, yeah, know you work for God. That's bigger than the government. Just go ahead. And I was like, we prayed. He looked up, he's smiling. And the second I said, amen.

I heard a voice from heaven. Gene Boonstra. We just found your social security number

and I don't know how angels get into the government computer. They don't do it At tax time, I've discovered. Pray all you want,

we talk too much. I'm guilty. Talk too much. Paul. Observing him intently, saw that he had faith. I have never converted anybody in 30 years of evangelism. The only thing I've had the privilege of doing as being taken to people that God is busy converting. Are you afraid to share your faith? It might be because you thought you had to convert people.

You don't. You need to find the people that God's working with right now, and I'm daring you this week to find somebody and introduce yourself and sit and listen. God will make it obvious, father in heaven in the quieter this moment we. Have gotten comfortable. No, Lord, we'll be honest. We're afraid. I'm praying that you would teach us to see people the way you see them, and to hear them the way you hear them, and to recognize when you're at work in our community.

And with our hearts beating wildly in our chests, we will dare to go. Dare to just talk to a few to sit and listen and see what you're doing in their hearts. Tonight, in the quiet of this moment, are you determined to exercise a little more courage with the people you communicate with? If that's you tonight, just raise your hand where you're sitting.

You're gonna try. Father, look at these hands. Take us to somebody tomorrow and let us hear you speaking in their lives before we pray it in Jesus' name. Amen.