Restoring the Soul with Michael John Cusick

Episode 295 - Michael John Cusick, "Brokenness: The True Currency of Heaven"

January 19, 2024 Michael John Cusick Season 13 Episode 295
Episode 295 - Michael John Cusick, "Brokenness: The True Currency of Heaven"
Restoring the Soul with Michael John Cusick
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Restoring the Soul with Michael John Cusick
Episode 295 - Michael John Cusick, "Brokenness: The True Currency of Heaven"
Jan 19, 2024 Season 13 Episode 295
Michael John Cusick

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“We need to exchange the currency by which we do life for the currency of heaven.”  - Michael John Cusick

Welcome to the Restoring the Soul podcast. You’re in for a treat as we’re featuring a talk given by our host, Michael John Cusick, to Denver Community Church titled “The Currency of Heaven.” 

From the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3 to the rich tapestry of Isaiah 55, we'll explore the idea that heaven is not just a far-off promise but an earthly reality where "heaven is happening here." And what does it mean to be blessed? To be "poor in spirit"? Today, we're delving into a profound paradox where brokenness is not a sign of spiritual bankruptcy but the very currency of heaven.

Michael will share a bit of his journey, from a young man yearning to touch the kingdom of God through struggle and restlessness to moments of being understood in the most unexpected of sanctuaries—a bedroom closet. A space where a friend's presence reflected Christ's love and attention.


ENGAGE THE RESTORING THE SOUL PODCAST:
- Follow us on YouTube
- Tweet us at @michaeljcusick and @PodcastRTS
- Like us on Facebook
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- Follow Michael on Twitter
- Email us at info@restoringthesoul.com

Thanks for listening!

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

“We need to exchange the currency by which we do life for the currency of heaven.”  - Michael John Cusick

Welcome to the Restoring the Soul podcast. You’re in for a treat as we’re featuring a talk given by our host, Michael John Cusick, to Denver Community Church titled “The Currency of Heaven.” 

From the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3 to the rich tapestry of Isaiah 55, we'll explore the idea that heaven is not just a far-off promise but an earthly reality where "heaven is happening here." And what does it mean to be blessed? To be "poor in spirit"? Today, we're delving into a profound paradox where brokenness is not a sign of spiritual bankruptcy but the very currency of heaven.

Michael will share a bit of his journey, from a young man yearning to touch the kingdom of God through struggle and restlessness to moments of being understood in the most unexpected of sanctuaries—a bedroom closet. A space where a friend's presence reflected Christ's love and attention.


ENGAGE THE RESTORING THE SOUL PODCAST:
- Follow us on YouTube
- Tweet us at @michaeljcusick and @PodcastRTS
- Like us on Facebook
- Follow us on Instagram & Twitter
- Follow Michael on Twitter
- Email us at info@restoringthesoul.com

Thanks for listening!

Michael John Cusick:

This morning is Sunday and therefore it's true confession Sunday. So quick survey and you have to be honest. How many of you have ever purchased a People Magazine? Okay, purchase not stolen one from your doctor's office or the dentist or something like that. How many of you have ever purchased a National Enquirer? Magazine? This is a little more bold requires a little more courage. Okay, great. Thank you sir. How many of you have ever heard of a tabloid called not the National Enquirer but the regional enticer nobody okay good because I invented it yesterday. And in this in this tabloid I read a fascinating story that it I'm not sure if it's true, but I'm gonna I'm gonna share it with you and in tabloids you know what catches your attention at the grocery store are the catchy titles like, like Elvis seen in Memphis riding electric scooter with oxygen tank and dark sunglasses. That's one of the things here but this catchy title that I want to share with you is called clerk encounters conqueror in closet. And again, I have no idea if this is true. You can never never trust these things. Dwayne Lipinski of Fairview village, Ohio got more than he bargained for last Monday during his morning routine of getting ready for work. Luke Pinsky, a firearms clerk at the local Walmart reports that after drinking two cups of coffee, and showering, he entered his closet looking for his belt and shoes, when quite unexpectedly, he encountered the Greek Emperor Alexander the Great. You could say I was a little surprised, said Lapinski. In fact, I was so taken aback by what happened that I left for work without ever getting my shoes and belt. I was like one of those hip hop kids who, who had to keep pulling my pants up. But hey, it's not every day that a fourth century military conqueror shows up in your bedroom closet. When asked What possible reason Alexander the Great head for being in his bedroom closet. Lipinski said he told me that he's coming out of retirement making a comeback. He's pretty impressed with what he calls this whole interweb thing. And he thinks that he can expand his kingdom and reign throughout the world. Although the Pinsky has had his share of detractors. He remains a firm believer and reports regular contact with Alexander the Great who recently met with a top branding agency and will here too for being known as ATG and tweeting at the real ATG. People don't believe me said Lapinski. But between the everyday low prices at Walmart and my expertise with shotguns and 22 rifles, this just makes sense. And man, do I feel blessed? Now, again, I don't know exactly if this is true or not. And people are laughing. Apparently, you may have some inside information. But number one, Alexander the Great has been dead for 1700 years, give or take a few years. Number two, if he were alive, what in the world would he be doing in the closet of a Walmart employee time to recruit him to expand his conquering Kingdom throughout the world? Those are two very important questions. But the thing based on my journalistic experience that tells me this may not be true, is I just don't think that Walmart would let a guy come to work with no belt and shoes all day. So I'm, I'm not sure if this is totally reliable. But what I'd like to do is turn to something a little more reliable, and that is God's word. And Matthew chapter five, verse three says, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven bless it, or the poor in spirit for theirs, or the kingdom of heaven. And this morning, I want to take roughly the next 30 minutes and unpack three things, I want to unpack the idea of what it means to be blessed. What is the idea of the kingdom of heaven, and what what it means this idea of poor in spirit, and we're going to unpack that, and hopefully you'll leave here with, with hope and insight and with a sense of being drawn closer to Christ. Number one, the word blessed. The word the Greek word for blessed occurs over 50 times in the New Testament. And most of the time, that word means a deep sense of inner joy from having experienced God's deliverance, deep sense of inner joy from having experienced God's deliverance, but in this context, that remains true, but it especially means and for some reason, I can't keep this word on the tip of my tongue it means a person who is in an enviable position, that word enviable keeps sliding off of my tongue. Bless it means a person who has experienced the deep joy of being delivered from a given situation by God's salvation, but specifically a person who is in an enviable situation. Eugene Peterson, who translated the Message version, or many people say it's a paraphrase, not a translation. But in when he translated the beatitudes in Matthew chapter five, he said, Blessed are those who are at the end of the rope, because with less of you, there's more of God. And all through the Beatitudes, he said, bless it, our blessing, our blessing our and he couldn't say what he really wanted to say, I think because he wrote a book called subversive spirituality, back in 1995. And in there, it's a collection of all of his writings. And he wrote a number of his poems in there. And Peterson wrote a whole series of poems about the Beatitudes, called the lucky ones. And he translates the word blessed, as lucky. Now as Christians, we say luck, we don't believe in luck, you know, that's like reading a fortune cookie and, and taking the numbers that are in your fortune cookie, and playing those in the Powerball. But in reality, a person who's in an enviable situation is somebody who will often think, Oh, they're lucky. They're lucky. And as Christians, we might say, that the luck and that grace, and that good fortune is from God, who's constantly working in arranging good fortune and good outcome, and not luck. But I share the part about luck with you to say that it's not just, Oh, I got a good parking spot this morning, as I was coming to church, and I'm so blessed. On the one hand, that's an enviable position to be in. But on the other hand, it's about something that comes out of a deep joy, and we need to hold those to intention. So Blessed, blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of heaven. What is that? First thing that you need to know as you think about the Kingdom of Heaven, is that here in Matthew, He says, The kingdom of heaven, in Luke as the Beatitudes are recorded, he says, The kingdom of God. And whenever the words come out of the mouth of Jesus, Paul has a little bit different meaning when he refers to the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of heaven, but whenever the words come out of the mouth of Jesus, but the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven, he's talking about the now and not the future. He's talking about something happening in US and in the world. And most of the time, we think about the Kingdom of Heaven, as this is my way to assure that I'm going to heaven. So in Matthew six, verse 33, it says, Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and everything else will be added to you. It's that idea that seek ye first God's rule and reign in you today. And everything else will be added unto you. And so if you talk to theologians that are worth their salt, and ask them outright, what is meant by the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven, they'll tell you the rule and reign of God that includes the future, when one day God will ultimately rule and all things will be under his reign. But it also includes now. And so when I met a man named Josh graves, last October, I was in Florida speaking at a conference and he was one of the speakers with me. He handed me a copy of his book speakers often do this, you exchange books, and I have two stacks. One of books that I'll probably never read, the people give me stacks that are really intriguing. And right away, I read his book. It's called heaven on earth. And about 10 pages in Josh says, Here's the definition of the kingdom of God. And to date. It's the best definition yet if the theological idea is that God rules and reigns in the now here's the paraphrase that he uses the kingdom of God is heaven, happening here. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. enviable is the one who is poor in spirit forts in them that heaven happens here.

MICHAEL CUSICK:

So relate to this idea of the kingdom of God, I became a Christian. In 1980, I had a pretty dramatic encounter with Jesus after a number of years of saying that I didn't believe anything. And I got involved in the ministry of young life that Landon and others here at this church have served with and been involved in, and I got discipled and grew as a Christian. And one weekend, there was a young life Leadership Weekend and I grew up in Northeast Ohio outside of Cleveland. And so they would go up to upstate New York to Saranac Lake anybody here ever been to Saranac Lake or certain like village amazing place where they do parasailing and they take kids on boats and just do do really cool stuff. So myself in our whole group of leaders are there and one of my best friends Peter, who's now one of my board members, we were both 20 years old. And we heard the speaker talk about being sold out for the kingdom of God. And we heard we heard the speaker talk about really dedicating our lives and so Peter and I went after that talk, they did 20 minutes of silence. And remember in that 20 minutes of silence that I was absolutely restless, and I wasn't I wasn't able to steal myself and I had all kinds of strange thought and I probably lusted, and I probably covered it. And I did all these things. And at the end of the 20 minutes, when the bell rang, I thought, Man, I'm not very spiritual guy, I'm not going to make much of a difference in the kingdom of God. And Peter came to me and he had kind of a similar situation. And so together, we said, Let's go pray, because I want to really take this seriously. So we went, we went down to the dock. And there were the moon in the stars that you can only see in upstate New York, and we literally our most sincere, devout position, we got on this railing at the edge of the water, and I prayed Jesus, I really want to impact your kingdom. I want to serve you with all of my heart. And he prayed something similar, and it was deeply sincere. And we went and had a root beer float at the soda fountain, and the rest is history. Well, my history and my particular story is, is that I was involved in ministry for about another 10 years until my life began to unravel. My double life began to come apart. And my sexual addiction, my alcohol abuse, all came out one day. And God has done a profound work of redemption and healing. And I tell that story, and surfing for God. But that moment, there on the dock was something that I kept going back to and kept going back to. And all through that time, all through the brokenness, all through the failure of me. As a Christian leader, at that time, I kept saying, God, I still want you to answer that prayer. So the kingdom of God is about heaven, happening here. And if you're a follower of Jesus, I believe that somewhere deep in your heart, you long for heaven to happen here heaven to happen in you, and through you and in your relationships and in your community. But this verse teaches us that heaven happens here, the kingdom of God comes in a unique kind of way, that it doesn't happen through our greatest effort and our greatest striving and trying really hard to be spiritual. Rather than happens through this idea of being poor in spirit. It means that we're broken in a dozen different ways, poor and spirit means that we're broken. And I want to quickly look at three different lenses at the idea of poor in spirit. The first is the rich young ruler. There's a story in Matthew 19. And the story is also told in Luke, and it says that a certain ruler, which meant that he had power, and he had money comes up to Jesus. And he says, teacher in Matthew, what must I do to inherit eternal life? So that's a good question, right? If somebody came up to you, and you're following Jesus, and they said, How can I be saved? What can I do to have eternal life? You would, you'd probably answer them. And you might say, Do this, this or this, or pray this prayer, or read this book or come to church on Sunday, but Jesus doesn't cooperate with him for some reason. Jesus doesn't say, I'd like you to pray these four spiritual laws. And after you pray this prayer, then you will have secure and eternal life. Instead, Jesus says, If you want to have life, obey the commandments. Did you hear the difference? The question from the rich young ruler is, how do I have eternal life? Jesus responses if you want life, obey the commandments. Now the distinction is saying how can I have eternal life is like saying the kingdom of God is all about getting to heaven, and having an insurance policy. Life is about the Kingdom of Heaven and the kingdom of God, where heaven happens here, Jesus is in effect, saying in Matthew 19, rich, young ruler, a powerful guy with all these resources, if you want heaven to happen here, follow the commandments. But Jesus sneaky and subversive as he always is, he says, follow the commandments. And the rich young ruler says, which commandments, and Jesus starts to rattle off the commandments, and which commandments, he rattles off a very important, he says, don't commit adultery. Don't commit murder, don't lie or give false testimony on your father and mother. And then he throws in a bonus one that's not actually part of the original 10 in the Decalogue. He says, Love your neighbor as yourself. That's called the summary of the law. Now all of those things can be done generally in and of our own power. Which quit which commands Did Jesus not include? Because when he says which commandments and Jesus tells them, he goes, I've kept them. In the Gospel of Luke. It says, in fact, I've kept them since I was a young boy. So this ruler, this powerful guy that's coming to Jesus. He has zealousness and he has intentionality but he has no desperation. He has no need. The commands that Jesus didn't say to follow what us, don't put anything before God. In other words, don't don't commit idolatry. Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength, and then the 10th commandment of Do not covet. All of those commands had to do with this man's heart. And I think that if Jesus would have said, keep those commands, number one, the guy would have gone Oh, yeah, well, I've kept them. And then he would have just gone Check, check, check, check. And he never would have had to wrestle with why he needs Jesus. The passage about the rich young ruler, I've heard people preach this over the years in two different ways. Number one, it's about money. And you need to be a good steward with money and give God whatever he wants. That might be true. But that's really not what this passage is about. The second thing is I've heard this taught as a kind of heroic surrender, that when you stand before Jesus, and he says, surrender everything to me, you need to be ready to give it no matter what it is. And I think that that's also there's an element of truth in that. But that's really not what this passage is about. This passage is not about the fact that the guy is rich. It's about that he's not broken. He's in the performance mode, the rich young ruler lives out a kind of spirituality that I call get her done spirituality. And that's, that's the kind of spirituality that I know that I live out. Because when I had all of my addictions, I would try really hard to overcome them. And I'd never tell anybody, and I try harder. And I'd read books, and I pray, and I'd memorized scripture. And it was all about me overcoming it, versus getting vulnerable and coming before others and saying, you know, instead of get her done spirituality, I got no game. Those are really the two kind of spiritualities that exist, get her done spirituality, where I'm going to do something for God based on my effort, and then God's going to be impressed. And hopefully, he's going to turn the key and unlock this life I've always wanted versus a kind of spirituality that's about this poor and spirit. Jesus, I've got no game. I've got no game. What would it be like if the rich young ruler came up to Jesus? And he said, Jesus, I follow the commands and I understand this Judaism thing. I've actually been pretty good at it. I've kept the command since I was a young boy, and I've always gone to temple but but I've got a problem. Jesus. Jesus perked right up. And he says, Tell me about it. He goes, sometimes I I just don't think that God is very good. Well, why is that? Well, it's a long story, can we sit down and have a cup of coffee over because I really need you to help me figure this out or to change? Or, or what happens if the man said, Jesus, I'm, I'm this powerful guy. And I've got a lot of money. And I'm the leader in this particular community. And sometimes I just wonder if anybody wants me for who I really am. Or people just want me for the transaction that I can do for them. And so Jesus, I kind of do the religious thing, but I've got some deep questions about who I am, and who you are, and really what my role on this planet is. See, I think that would be a spirituality of God, no game, where he needed Jesus, not just as a luxury that tacked onto his life that gave him an insurance policy to know that he was going to go to heaven, but he needed Jesus as a necessity. What kind of spirituality Do you practice, the spirituality of get er done? Or the spirituality of God, no game, by the way, I really enjoy seeing that get her done. The next passage and kind of lens that I want to look through. The first one is the rich young ruler is in the book of Isaiah, chapter 55. There's this profound passage, but before I read it, my family keeps this box of money. And before you think, Oh, I'm gonna I him on the way out. As he walks out the parking lot to his car, it's all foreign money. So currency from places we visited, or that missionaries come to our home have given us. So of course, there's the almighty dollar, right. And this dollar says legal tender. This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private. So we get stuff in America and in other countries, this is really valuable as well, even though it's not their legal tender. This becomes a currency that we can buy and sell and get resources in the stuff we need. And so there's currency that I've got here from, from Cambodia from Hong Kong Chinese yen, this one earlier, I picked up from the bottom and I don't know what country it's from, but the dude on the front looks like the same guy in the Ludens cough drop box. So maybe everybody in that country had a really bad cough or bronchitis or pneumonia and they honorarium we put him on there. But we have currency that we spend, currency to buy and sell and the question that I have for you this morning that I want to launch into, and then circle back to this idea of what it means to be poor in spirit. And what does it mean that enviable are those who are poor in spirit because it's them for whom heaven hat happens here? The question is, what's the currency of heaven? If the currency in America is dollars and cents, and if the currency and all of these other countries are some similar kind of monetary unit by which we do transactions to get what we need? What's the currency in the kingdom of God? The answer is brokenness. The answer is poverty. The only thing that we can bring to God to give him is our poverty, our lack, or lack of resources. And in Matthew five, three, where it says poor in spirit and all throughout the rest of the scriptures, it's almost always talking about something much more than economic or financial poverty. Every one of us at one point becomes or experiences emotional poverty, relational poverty, psychological poverty, spiritual poverty, it was Teresa of Lisu, the Catholic saint who said that our, our spiritual poverty is our capacity for God. And so if the if the Kingdom of Heavens currency, is brokenness and poverty, maybe what we need as followers of Jesus is a currency exchange, where we exchange what God says is his currency for the currency that we're used to doing business with. And I want to suggest to you that we don't need to consciously do a currency exchange, it just happens, because we live in a broken world, and we are broken people. That's why this hope of the gospel means so very, very much. So in Isaiah, chapter 55. This is an amazing passage, the prophet is speaking, God speaking through the prophet Isaiah. And it's this invitation. It says, Come all you who are thirsty, come to the waters, and you have no money, come by and eat without money, and without cost. So God operates this kind of store, where there's all the stuff that our heart needs and longs for, but the criteria is that you can't pay for it. Now, we as Christians, if, if you're of the evangelical Bible, believing sort, you may say, Well, I know that because our salvation is not through earning, it's through grace. But guess what? Our discipleship, our sanctification, our daily walk with God is also by grace, and not by earning. And so imagine, if some hipster entrepreneur went down to the 16th Street Mall, and based on Isaiah 55, started a store called i 55. And all of the stuff that was sold in there was amazing stuff. There were software programs that you couldn't get anywhere else. There was technology, there were iPhones that were available before even Apple knew they existed. I mean, really stuff that was just amazing. And you walked in, and you took out your wallet, and they said, Sorry, we don't take credit cards. And so you reached in your other pocket, you got out your checkbook, and they said, Sorry, we don't. We don't take checks. So you fiddled for some cash, unfortunately, you stocked up at the ATM for three days in a row. And they said, Sorry, we don't take cash. You said what kind of store is this? Oh, I know. It must be one of those coops where I fill my card up. And I bring it up and I sign on the dotted line and then I'll work a work to pay this off. And the person that I 55 says no, you understand. This is a store where the only way you can get what we offer and what we sell is by being broke. And some of you might be going on that sounds like welfare. It's not. It's the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of heaven. So in Isaiah 55, God says, if you're thirsty, if you want more, if you long for more of me, like I was when I was 20 on the dock, praying God, I want more of your kingdom. It's not through trying to pay. It's not through more effort or trying harder. It's actually surrendering into those places where we got no game. So we looked at the rich young ruler and Jesus and we looked at Isaiah 55 The last place where we see this principle of got no game and poor and spirit and brokenness and poverty playing out is on the cross itself. Philippians two six through eight. It says Jesus who being in very nature, God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man he humbled himself and became obedient to death II In death on a cross, do you hear it? This message from Jesus have blessed are those who are poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. We see that on the cross because there, God became small. There on the cross, God became powerless. There on the cross, God himself chose brokenness and pain. We know from Isaiah 53, that he was pierced for our transgressions, and that He was crushed for our iniquities. In that place of brokenness, upon the cross, we learn, and we see what God is like. See, brokenness is a reality in life. But you can come to one of two conclusions with brokenness. And none of us get out of this life unscathed from brokenness and coming to that place of poverty. Conclusion number one is somehow God is causing this brokenness, God is allowing the plane to crash, God is allowing the cancer to come, God is allowing my child to get sick, God is allowing me to go bankrupt. God is allowing my heart to hurt. God allowed me to be abused by my uncle when I was five years old. Or, you can look to the cross. Which if you remember Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Regis Philbin is famous question, Is that your final answer? God's final answer to this question of brokenness is I do not cause suffering. I am not, and never will be the source of your pain. But rather I've arranged the world and I'm so magnificent and so powerful and so good and so mysterious, and somehow arranged to exploit the brokenness that's in the world. That's a result of our own autonomy, and independence and turning away from God, even our sin he uses to bring glory to his name, He restores my soul and guides me in paths of righteousness for his namesake. We need to exchange the currency by with which we do life, for the currency of heaven. Borrow from you, too, in their song Cedarwood road on the Songs of Innocence album has a line that just keeps catching me again and again and again. And I won't sing it for you because I would embarrass myself but I'd have to have the big red glasses in the microphone and do this. But he says, a heart that is broken is a heart that is open. A heart that is broken, is a heart that is open. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Maybe the reason why the one who's poor in spirit, the one who's impoverished, the one who's broken, the one who has nothing to bring, I have no gift to bring per rump a pompom. If it were Christmas time, we would all understand that metaphor. Maybe the porn spiritedness has to do with a closed heart. And maybe bringing people to a place of poverty and brokenness, whether emotional, physical, relational or spiritual is a way to get our hearts open. Maybe the original sin had to do more with when Adam and Eve were deceived by the serpent that God wasn't good. Maybe it had to do with their hearts that were open and receptive to have this reciprocal two way giving and receiving that led to joy and connection. Maybe what happened when the serpent said, Did God really say, you'll surely die? When the serpent called into question whether God could be trusted, maybe their hearts began to close. And maybe the only way that God could have our hearts open again, is by bringing us to a place where we have no other option, but to enter into that place where we're pouring spirit or to harden our hearts. In 2003, nine years after God rescued my marriage and delivered me from a pretty significant addiction and a double life. Nine years later, when I kind of thought I was good, and I was heading into a, you know, significant ministry. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, severe PTSD. And you might know from hearing about combat veterans that the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is not just I have a memory of something traumatic and that frightens me, but Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is that I actually get triggered by something in the present and it takes me back. So the soldier is having a picnic with his family in a helicopter flies overhead and his body gets triggered and adrenaline and cortisol are shot into his veins and before you know it, he's curled up in a ball next to a dumpster hiding looking for tanks. He doesn't just remember Iraq or Vietnam, he actually is back there. And so for me, I started remembering and having flashbacks of sadistic abuse from the hands of an uncle beginning at age four, and in various ways happening all the way up to age 16. And there were times when I went through this, for seven years was the worst of it, where my body would be triggered, my heart would start to race, I'd become very disoriented, I'd become extremely anxious. And I would I would need to flee to a place of safety. And this may sound strange, but the only place in my home where at the time I had two young children and my wife where I felt safe was in the bedroom closet. I'd wrap myself up in a quilt and I, I burrow down underneath pillows, and I would just ride this, this flashback out. And I would literally be as if I was five years old. One weekend, this happened. And I was about three quarters of the way through it, I could kind of tell the timing of it. And and I was I was conscious of what was happening around me. And I heard the doorbell ring. And I heard my wife and my children beginning to talk to my friend Eric. And Eric is a sergeant and a hostage negotiator and a SWAT team member with the Lakewood police. He's this big strapping dude, and he loves me a lot. But the very first thing that went through my mind was, thank God, he's not going to come up here. I'm glad that my wife's talking to him. And then I heard two things inside of my heart, that still small voice of God. The first thing I heard was Michael, do you remember the prayer that you and Peter prayed on the dock at Saranac when you were 20 years old? Yeah, God, I'm answering your prayer. What? You prayed that no matter what, that I would advance my kingdom through you. And I just began to weep a whole different kinds of Tears, tears of joy, tears of disbelief, that this moment of being poor and spirit that this moment of being broken, would actually be an answer to prayer that God was removing obstacles, there was necessary healing for more of my heart to be available for more of my heart to open. Michael, I'm answering your prayer blessing, or the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God. The second thing I heard was, Michael, I want you to let Eric into this closet with you. And I just went, That's not gonna happen. And I heard my wife and kids down there, they're continuing to laugh and visit. And then I heard again, the still small voice, Michael, I want you to let Eric into this closet with you. And again, I said no. And then there's a knock on the door. My wife opened the door and poked in her head. She said, Honey, Eric's here, and he wants to come in and be with you. For whatever reason, I call it pure grace. I call it the kingdom of heaven. Heaven happening now entered in and Eric walked in, and he knelt down, and he put his hand on my knee, and he said, Hey, buddy, and he just sat there for the longest time. And I began to cry more, again, not tears of pain, but tears of joy. I have to tell you that I've never been more terrified in my life, than in that particular moment. I've never felt more vulnerable in my life, that at that particular moment, but I also have to tell you, that I've never since felt as loved and known by another individual. And by God, in that moment, through my friend's hand, I felt the presence and the power of God's Kingdom in the person of Jesus, who is made known through my friend Eric. Brothers and sisters, friends, men and women this morning, I just want to leave you with this reality that blessed are the poor in spirit. My translation of that this morning is that you're in an enviable position when you got no game, because it's then that heaven happens here. And then you bless you and thank you