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Zack Gardner

Jessup Chapel
Jessup Chapel
Zack Gardner

Listen in on William Jessup University’s chapel series every Wednesday and Friday to hear speakers from across the globe, bringing messages from God’s word to our students, faculty, and staff.


So I’m gonna start out with my testimony tell you a little bit about myself. I for a long time for my entire life actually up until this last year so I was a very lukewarm Christian. I identified as a Christian, I believe that Jesus was my Lord and Savior, he died for my sins, all this fun stuff. I grew up going to church on Sundays and one is on Wednesdays, as sparkies tanti in his house. You know what it is? I went to middle school group, I went to high school group, my mom follow me both places, I tried to get rid of her she didn’t, she loved me too much. She’s the best mom in the world. I love you, mom. She is watching. Um, I was known as the good kid, everyone knew me as a Christian at school. But that kind of annoyed me. Um, I wanted to be the guy that everybody was friends with, that everybody can relate to. And I did a fairly good job of being that person. I got to be that guy that everybody knew. I wasn’t necessarily a popular kid. Cuz I joined band. But I love band. I love man. I was a band geek for sure. I played percussion. Ha. I played percussion. So I got from I was a band geek. And I was also a three sport athlete. So I was friends with the whole spectrum of people. I met so many amazing people in theater and band and art, and all this stuff. And photography was amazing. But I never really knew who I was other than a goofy kid who had a lot of different friends. I was very lukewarm in my faith. As I mentioned, I didn’t realize what lukewarm meant. Until this past year, throughout high school and ended the beginning of my time here at Jessup. I struggled with a bit of an addiction. I’ve never really said it to anybody except for my close friends. So almost spit it out tonight. I had a pornography addiction. It sucked a lot of the time and energy from me. It can it continued to give me temporary satisfaction that made me feel a little bit better about each one of the bad situations that I put myself in. Um, I kept saying that this addiction kind of made it good enough made each situation okay. And that’s not the way you should be looking at things. Another bad tool that I was using was social media. I still use social media at the moment, I’m fasting, Praise the Lord. I’m, I’m fasting from it. But in the initial stages, I was going on social media every second of every day, just no reason at all, but scrolling and scrolling and scrolling, looking at what the other people were doing, and sharing what I was doing, trying to say, Hey, I’m relevant. Um, but it wasn’t until the end of my last relationship about a year and a half ago, that I realized all these things were draining for me. Throughout all of this, I had a lot of fears, as far as telling people about my pornography addiction, about how they would react, how they would view me. I thought I was this guy that everybody thought was nice, cool. And I felt like telling somebody that would make them think, oh, he’s gross. He’s not who we we really think he is. I’m like, another fear was ending a relationship that wasn’t necessarily healthy for me or for her. It was better off. I’m doubting what it was exactly that I was supposed to be doing and who I was as a person. That was a big one, identifying who I am why I do things, intentionality. I’ll be alluding to intentionality a lot tonight, we can find this same theme of fear and doubt, everywhere throughout the Bible. And it wasn’t until this last year that I really opened it up and realized that there were so many people and that these really important people there were to Jesus had these same exact problems of fear and doubt. So let’s read homies. Let’s go on. Let’s go to Matthew, if you guys want to turn the pages, pull out your phones. We’re gonna go to Matthew chapter 14. And we’re going to start at verse 22 through 33, and we’ll keep it going. Alright, start from 22. Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake. While he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. night fell while he was there alone. Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from the land so far out there, for a strong wind had risen and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them walking on water, crazy. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified in their fear. They cried out, it’s a girl.

Whoa. But Jesus spoke to them at once. Don’t be afraid. He said, Take courage. I’m here. Then Peter called to him, Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you walking on the water. Yes, calm, Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on water towards Jesus. When he saw the strong wind and waves he was terrified and began to sink. Save me, Lord, he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out, grabbed him. You have so little faith. Jesus said, Why don’t you doubt me? When they climb back into the boat, the wind, stop the disciples worshipped him, you really are the Son of God, they exclaimed. Alright, let’s go back to the last verse to the verse 20, through through 27 that I have up there. So in this first group of verses, is basically saying, basically, separating these two groups, there’s Jesus, he went way out there, he’s gone alone in the night. And then there’s this group of guys on this boat. They decide to go out sailing in a storm for some reason. And as they’re sailing in this storm, they see a guy, they see ghosts, and they’re like, whoa, hey, see ghosts. And they said it. And they were just kind of scared. I mean, if you saw a ghost can be kind of freaked out. Unless it was the Holy Spirit, of course. Amen. Thank you, um, the Holy Ghost. Um, but it said that they thought it was Jesus. Peter called to him, he said, Lord, if it’s really you tell me to come to you walk in the water. So Peter was just like, yo, Jesus, if that’s you, tell me come to you, bro. Tell me come back. And Jesus basically says in one word. And so Peter, he’s like I said, bad. He’s not bad. So he steps out of the boat. He’s like, some pants falling down. he steps out of the boat. He’s walking on water. Crazy. And as he’s walking, he realizes he sees things, he sees things like waves and winds, and he gets scared, and he starts to sink. And what I want to say about this, is that it’s really, really

easy to start things when they look so easy. It says that, Peter, look, he saw the wind of the rains, he wasn’t in the wind of the rains, he wasn’t shmack by the wind of the rains, he didn’t fall down. He wasn’t. He was walking on water and saw them. Like from way over there. He was like, Oh, the waves that are way over there that aren’t even hitting me, I’m scared. So I start sinking. And that’s the thing that we tend to do is we see things from way off. That may happen that may hurt us. And we doubt things. So it’s really easy to start when there aren’t any waves in in your area. There aren’t any waves near you, you don’t see anything. Until you see these waves. You see these troubles, you see doubts. And you start being afraid and you’re saying what if this happens, a lot of what is run into your mind you say what if I fail? What if I get hurt? And those what ifs are what caused out there what caused you to stop doing what God wants you to do? Even though you may not even get hit, you may be walking towards him and he may just move it out of the way. So I kind of want to relate this these doubt of Peter seeing these waves to some my personal doubts. I’ve doubted who I was as a person. I continue to doubt who I’m supposed to be what I’m supposed to do. My career path. I’m a classic over thinker. I overthink every little scenario. If it’s raining tomorrow, I’m thinking oh my gosh, there’s gonna be a flood. Jesus is coming. But that’s not what’s gonna happen. You just got to move on with the chips that you got step by step if it’s raining, wear a coat. Thank you. Um, but I choose to anchor myself in God and that

he has my back and I’ll have his as long as I keep pursuing him. Um, one thing that I most definitely am scared of, fearful of and doubt of is where I’m supposed to go after school is my last semester I have no idea what I’m doing. I was a math major freshman year. Then last long then I was Business major, I’ve been business major since then, I have no idea what I want to do. I don’t know where I’m going. But I have to pick a internship for the summer, or else I’m not gonna graduate. So I got to timeline people. But I know I continue to tell myself that God’s got this, he’s got my back, he’s gonna put me in the right place at the right time. I just got to keep going after him and what he wants for me, and I got to try my best and put my best foot forward, literally, I got to go out and do something, I got to try something. If I don’t like it, I don’t know if I’m not gonna like it. I gotta try it first, I gotta step out, before I decide, oh, it’s not gonna work.

Alright, we’re gonna move on to this main verse that we have James one, six. It’s actually James one, six, but I decided to put up James one, five and six, because I think it’s really, really relevant to intro into the six. Alright, let’s go James, one, five and six. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously, to all without finding fault, and that will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea blown and tossed by the wind. Alright, let’s go to let’s see, verse, verse five real quick. As you can see, I underline wisdom, wisdom. For me this past six months past year, it wasn’t wisdom. For me, I was reading that verse, and I crossed out wisdom. And I put patients because I said, if any of you like, Zack, if you lack patience, I do. You should ask God, because he’ll give generously. And it goes back to the same verse that says, pursue God with all you have, and he’ll give you the desires of your heart. As long as you’re pursuing after God, you’re looking after him. You’re seeing what he wants for you, you continue to turn back and say, God, am I doing this? Right? Okay. And if you continue to do that, you continue to read, then, whatever you do, you’ll do intentionally for the right purpose. And if it’s not God’s will, it’s not God’s will. And it won’t happen. But you will be doing it for the right reasons is the point. So for me, it was patience, but you can substitute that for any one of the fruits of the Spirit. Goodness, kindness, sing the song. Alright, let’s go look at look at sex again. It says, but when you ask, When I asked, hey, God, can I have some patience? Please? Please, please, please. Now? No now now, not patients. Thanks. Thanks for the pity labs. Um, it says but when you ask you must believe and not doubt because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea blown and tossed by the wind. When you ask God for something, rightfully, when you pray, God say, God, I need this. I need help. I want I need help from you got, you got to believe that he will help you. If you just start saying I don’t think he’s gonna do it. I don’t think he’s gonna do it. I don’t see it happening right now. All like I got laid off. Like you keep seeing the negatives. Of course, it’s all you’re going to see. But once you step into the light, you try your best. You keep talking. Let me keep having these conversations. like God, I don’t see it yet, but I trust you. I don’t see it yet. But I’m not gonna doubt I know you’re there. I know you’re working. I know you’re doing what you need to do. I know it’s taken time, but I know I’m impatient. But and you just got to know that whatever you do believe with all your heart, use faith. You know that God is there he will be your anchor. Now, going into this whole process of making this sermon, I looked at the original word that we’re doing for this semester, which is anchored. Can everybody say anchor for me? Was he anchored? Thank you. Gosh, let’s go. Okay, so I looked at the word anchoring. And I have a definition I’ll put up there. The anchor definition anchor is used to connect a vessel to a ban of the body of water to prevent a crowd from drifting due to wind current it. And then in parentheses, I have something that provides strength and support. Thank you people for interacting, strength and support. Now when I think of anchor, I think of boats. I’m not a boat guy. I’m just not. I don’t do cars, I don’t know, I don’t know things. But I do know where an anchor is from, it’s from a boat. So we are the vessel, we are the boat. And we have God as our anchor with a chain or a rope attached to him. Thank you.

And we got to know as long as we pursue him, we have that rope attached. As soon as we stop pursuing him, as soon as we forget, he’s there, the rope is gone. It’s not even tied to the boat is just hanging on. It’s gonna fly off, we’re gonna drift away because, because why? Because there are wind and currents, there is temptation. There is temptation, there is sin, there are things in this world that the Satan will use against him. He’ll do whatever it takes, whatever it takes. And we got to know we got to know when those things when those winds when those waves come up, and they hit us, knock us off balance, that there’s going to be an anchor that’s gonna tighten the rope, and it’s gonna yank us back to where we need to be. But if we don’t go continue and go back, go read the Bible, go listen to sermons go to France to church, have conversations, then we lose that connection, we lose our anchor. Now, I’m not. I’m not an artist. But after these diagrams, I sure think I should be good. Put those up there. There’s some boats. There’s some boats. I drew those boats. skee ball. I’m an artist. Okay. Thank you. So in that first boat on the left, the rock goes straight down into the anchor at the bottom, at the bottom of the ocean, and by the water wherever you are Lake Tahoe, I don’t know. And that’s just not realistic. There’s gonna be slack in that rope. As human beings, we have the awesome challenge of going about our lives and having our own choice having to make a decision on something that we have, we can do that. We can say, You know what? I’m gonna smoke a blunt. No, don’t do it. But you have the choice. You could do whatever you want. You can Yeah. Can you? Yeah. All right, on this second bow. There’s a super long rope. You don’t see the anchor cuz I cropped it out. I didn’t mean to. But imagine there’s an anchor. And it’s super long has a sponsor slack has so much slack. But the problem with that is, you have too much slack, you’ll make too many wrong decisions. And you’ll be so far out. It doesn’t matter how anchored you are in God, it’ll still yank you yank you by it won’t even it won’t even matter where the anchor is. And now on this third one, sorry, guys. So keep going. Keep going off on this third one, you just you have some slack, you have some slack. You can make your own choices. But the thing is, you have God to yank you back. There’s gonna be slack cuz there’s temptation, there’s choice you could do do things that are ungodly that That isn’t what a Christian should do. I’ve done plenty. But the thing is, you have a little bit of slack that might move Yeah, it might shake Yeah, you’re gonna fall. It’s gonna happen. It’s inevitable. Because Satan never stops, and we’re not God, we make mistakes. So we’ll drift off, we might be hit by a wave knocked over. But we got that anchor that’ll yank us back. So just know that you are anchored in God, He will bring you back as long as you keep going after him. Don’t just stop. Don’t just stop because things get hard because something went wrong. Because that’s when Satan will pounce. He’ll hit you harder. And the thing that I get from that is when I get hit harder when you know when I’m squaring up, Satan, we’re fighting. We’re duking it out. That was just that just tells me I’m doing some right. If I’m in so much oppression from Satan does not tell you that this man scared. Sorry, can hide. What if I’m getting so much adversity thrown at me? You tell me. God’s not there with me. He’s not saying All right. Let’s go like let’s throw some. Alright, I wanna I’m gonna finish off my testimony I told you guys,

I was a data pornography, I wasn’t not in a great relationship. And I doubted myself, I was fearful of what I was doing and if I was doing the right thing, but in this past year, this past year has been something else. For most of you, it’s been something else for a different reason. 2020 sucked for a lot of us. For me, personally, it gave me a lot of things that I didn’t know I needed. I got anchored. In the past year, I relaxed, I found out what I like, and what I look like as a person. What kind of personality am I? Who do I hang with? God wants us to reveal our hurts and pains to the light because nothing can be fixed in the dark. Have you tried screwing? Screw tiny screw in a frickin I don’t even know in a something in the dark in the pitch black. I can’t do it. If you guys can you got night vision. But you got to bring that you got to grab your phone, turn on the flashlight. And look at it when the light. And for me, sorry, let me turn off my flashlight. And for me, it was my addiction to pornography, I had to push it out. I had to put it out in the light and tell some people, I realized if I really wanted to be free of this addiction, I would need to bring it to the light by telling my friends telling Mike telling my group. My friends were so supportive and helpful and loving. God gave me friends in my life to give me that love and accountability and how there are people like that around. You have friends like that around if you don’t, there’s someone next to you right now. There are people right here there are people around school that are more than willing to be your friend to come to you when you need help to pray for you. To be that anchor with God by your side. I deleted social media. And I looked up from my phone and became curious. Why was I not feeling the same way in faith as other people here in Chapel around school. their knees down on the ground? Hands raise. Yeah. Jeez. I wasn’t feeling it. I wasn’t there. But as soon as I turned off social media, I started looking up. I was like, What are these people doing? Why? Why are they acting like this? And so I became curious. I pursued it. I looked after I asked questions. People don’t ask questions, ask questions with a purpose of finding answers. be intentional. I finally found a church at the end of last year that I thought I liked. After four years of going here, Jessup, I’ve been to like six different churches. And five of those churches were in the first five weeks of being adjusted. And I just was not feeling it. And so I just stopped going. I just stopped going. I was just floating around. I said, I’ll go to my chapels. That’ll be my church. And then once I’m done with my chapel credits, I won’t go anymore. And I stopped everything. I was just school. Phone. Golf, that was it. So now, I have a church. I’m pursuing him. I’m asking questions. I’m looking at what they’re talking about. Now, the thing about church, I used to not have a clue what people are saying, but at the pulpit. I had no idea anybody else just not have a clue? Nobody, okay, I’m alone. I don’t care. I didn’t know I had no clue. It was in one ear out the other until I started taking notes. And because I took notes, I realized that if I didn’t, I wouldn’t understand or remember anything. I wouldn’t learn I wouldn’t grow. God bless me with covenant quarantine. I would not have called it an opportunity at the time but now I see his work and I’m reaping the rewards. As most of you know I’m an extremely extroverted person. I love talking to people I love hanging out if you see me say was good. Come I mean it’s COVID so don’t give me a hug but like air that me up I don’t know. Either. Either then saw that God put me in the position that I was in like Matthew six success to literally go in my room. Close the door and pray.

I went in my room, I close my door, I prayed. And I read. And I listen to sermons and I journaled, I used to hate journaling. I thought it was done. journaling is a tool y’all, y’all need get on it. I came back to school, I made new friends. I had this opportunity through them to grow in my faith. It just took effort, you guys, it just takes effort. If you’re in this lukewarm, right, it just takes effort to move in another direction. It’s like if you’re in basketball, or football, and you’re in overtime, you don’t just stop, because the traditional time is up. You keep going because you want the dub, you want to win. And I want to end here with you guys with a few of my final points. Some of the things that I use in this past year, to grow in my faith to anchor myself and God and put an anchor deep in the ground. To hold on to number one up there is counsel, just a big word for have friends, have family have spiritual elders, to talk to, to ask questions to find answers. You don’t need to know everything, you’re not going to know everything. And if you don’t have that curiosity, don’t have doubt, then you’re not going to have people to go to. But number two is read the Bible. so cliche I know, but read it intentionally with purpose. Read it. In order to find answers before I would just read it like, I should read the Bible and just crank it out to Psalms because that’s the middle of the book. And I read random things. But read it with purpose. find answers to your questions. Three is prayer. Prayer is so important. Go in your room. Quiet dead silence. Talk to God out loud in your head. It doesn’t matter on your way to school to on your way to class, walking down the street, just talk to him. He wants to talk to you. And it’s not just one way you don’t just pray to them. Listen, he’ll talk back. Listen. Number four, journaling, which is kind of like prayer, I find that journaling is so good for overthinking like me, puts thoughts on paper. It’s like writing letter God or to yourself, just writing out your day. And then number five most important for me with my addiction. Repentance was this big idea. Repentance is such a big word. But I heard it like this repentance just means to turn. And it means turning from one thing to another. And to finish you guys, I want to do a little exercise I want you guys to look straight ahead. Look at what you’re looking at on the stage, analyze what’s up here, what’s going on. And now I want you guys to turn your head 90 degrees. And and tell yourself what you see. It’s a totally different, totally different perspective, new view, new phase, new friends. That’s, it could be that easy. As soon as you notice something, don’t, don’t grow in it. Turn, look the other way. For me it was I was walking in the mall, saw something I said that puts a picture in my mind. Turn the other way. It was that easy. Now I’m gonna invite the worship team back up. And I want to I want to encourage you guys to use those tools, use other tools, go find counsel, go find friends, talk, pray journal, read, repent, turn. Know that God will always be there as long as you are pursuing him intentionally with purpose. Don’t just think that is just going to happen. Go after he wants you. He wants you guys to bow your heads and pray with me. Dear God, thank you so much for everything that you’ve done for me everything you’ve done for each one person in this room. I pray that you allow everybody to use the tools to use the things that you have for us to grow in our relationship with you. Not because it’s a chore, not because we’re told to. But because we are genuinely curious about why this guy, this man looked at us looked at across and said I’ll take the hit. I’ll take it for this guy. I’ll tell you that for this girl. I’ll do it. God I pray that each person in this room reflects on all this and uses each tool intentionally To grow in their life with you know, God’s people said Amen.

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