Well, good morning again. If you don’t know my name by now, it’s been said like seven times this morning. So my name is Khalid James. I have a great honor of serving the church as a director for worship. But my absolute passion and one of my most favorite parts that I get to serve is I get to serve as the leader of the teen ministry in Orlando and shout out to all my teens who are watching online and making all kinds of jokes to tell me about later. But I’m super thrilled. I’m super thrilled to get to have this unique opportunity to get to lead in the youth and Family ministry. It was such an amazing experience being at team camp again this year. And what we’re talking about today is basically the recap of what we talked about from teen camp. Our theme was One Way Home. As you guys probably see on a number of a couple of us who have on our shirts today.

This was our theme. We’re talking about the idea of the one way to be home, to be with Jesus. And I think what better way to start talking about home than to give you guys a glimpse into my home and where I’m from. Normally, whenever I tell people where I’m from, the first thing I usually tell people, I’m like, so look at a map of the Caribbean and then take your index finger and put it somewhere by Puerto Rico. You’re kind of in the general area. My island is only 13 miles long, so if you fly over it someone told me that if you literally spend 20 seconds too long in the air, you will miss the island. It’s that small. But literally, like, if you zoom in and you look here right to the right of Puerto Rico, that small island right there, that’s St. Croix. That’s where I’m from, this small little bit of island. And just to give you, like, a quick pick, like, this is like a shot. This was two minutes of a walk from my house. I literally walked right from behind my house up to the hill.

And literally, this was outlooking over the east town in St. Croix. It’s called Christianstead. And this is the harbor where a lot of tourists come and stuff like that. But this was Tara and Chandler were there. They know. But it’s such a beautiful outlook. But my favorite part of St. Croix is on the west end. This is on the west beach. This is near the town called Frederickstead, which is the town that I grew up in mostly. And I mean, basically our entire week was school, grandma’s house on Saturday and then the beach on Sunday. That consisted like, our entire week. So the beach was my favorite place to go. Still is my favorite place to go. And I’m kind of thinking of, like, for me, I grew up in a household. I have both my parents. I had my mom and my dad. And then those are both of my sisters. My oldest sister. If you’ve ever seen me showing pictures of my niece, that’s her child, but I take it that’s my child, too. When I’m around, that’s my child. And then that’s my baby sister on the right. She’s not a baby anymore. She’s 25.

But I love just being able to just share just bits of my home. You guys have known me. If, you know, I’m on the phone, my roommates can tell you. If you’ve been on the phone with my family for maybe 5-10 minutes, you get quite a snapshot of my accent, like, really thick. And so it takes me, like, about a day to get out of it, which I’m fine with, but I just love just being able to kind of share the idea of my home because I think that for what we’re talking about today, like, talking about what the topic of one way home is, I think we have to start with asking ourselves the question, what is home? So we have to kind of, like, define this idea of home. And it means many different things for many different people. I think that home can mean a physical place. You can ask like, Eddie, I’m usually here at the building a lot. My home address is sometimes 2400 South Golden Rod. I’m here all the time. I’m surprised there’s not a bed for me somewhere. There’s a shower. Thanks. Yeah. So I can shower, but I can’t sleep.

I can sleep on the floor. It’s fine. But home is sometimes defined as people sometimes define home as a physical building. Even, like, with the picture like with my family, I think of home sometimes as, like, being around the people who love you and care for you unconditionally. And I know for you with some of you guys, I asked a couple of people, and they said a place that we can rest and refuel, a place where I can put my head down after a long day. But this was the one that I love the most, is that it’s a place where they feel the safest. And I love that that’s just, like, their description of what home is like. Because I think that there’s a lot that we’ll be able to dive into today. Talking from our Scripture that I think that I want to define home the way that God had intended it for us. So if you have your Bible, we’re going to be reading in Genesis, chapter two. I think what better way than to figure out what it is? What does God describe as home than to go very back to the very first instance of God making a home for us?

So reading in Genesis, chapter two, make sure I get my right Bible. Gosh. I have, like, five Bibles open. There we go. In Genesis chapter two, starting in verse five. I’m sorry for my words on the screen, but follow along with me as I read. It says, now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth, and no plant had yet sprung up for the Lord. God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground. But streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And the man became a living being. Now, the Lord God had planted a garden in the east in Eden, and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground. Trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of a garden with a tree of life and a tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river flowing from the garden, a river watering the garden flowed from Eden. From there, it was separated into four head waters. The name of the first is the Pishon. It waters through the entire land of Havilah where there is gold. The gold of that land is good. Aromatic resin and onyx are also there. The name of the second river is the Gihon. It winds through the entire land of Kush. The name of the third river is the Tigris. It runs along the sides of the Asher. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. So this is an amazing description. I think this is the description of the way that God had described, like, making a home someplace that is like this amazing refuge. Just like a place where everyone can just feel at home, feel that you can rest yourselves, feel like you can be taken care of. I think we have to look at a couple of different things that God describes in the garden. The first thing that he says is that streams from the earth came up from and watered the entire ground.

You ever see those little pools of groundwater that sometimes come up from the ground? Imagine that, but, like, watering everything. In Florida, we just call that flooding. But this is the way that God has said he wanted streams to water the entire ground. The second thing I love is that this is the place that he chose to put man. Man, who he formed in his own image, breathed his breath into his lungs to be able to give him life. This is the place where he had put man. And this is where he wanted man to live. One of the third things I love is that there were trees everywhere. They were everywhere. There were trees that were for food, trees you could just look at. I mean, I can imagine Adam just standing there like nice, just enjoying, just looking at some of the trees. But then this is the one that kind of blows my mind a little bit is that there’s one river that watered the entire garden that flowed and watered many different lands. The first one, like he said, is like, with the Pishon. This one watered the entire land of Havilah, and it’s described as a land that is full of gold, aromatic resin, and onyx.

I haven’t seen a land that has gold like, sweet smelling resin and onyx. That’s insane to think about. The second one, he says, is that it waters the land of Kush, which is somewhere from between Ethiopia to Egypt. I was researching, and scholars can’t decide where that land, specifically that kingdom specifically resided, but it watered a really nice civilization that tied into the Nile River at a later point in civilization. And then the Tigris and the Euphrates are two rivers that circled around an area known as Mesopotamia. You might have heard of that land. It was part of what was known as the Fertile Crescent. It was one of the most lush parts that ever existed of civilization. And just thinking that this one river that flowed out of the Garden of Eden watered all of these lands. That must have been a nice, powerful river. Look at all of those. That’s the description of the home that God had made for Adam and Eve from the very beginning. And then here’s one of my favorite parts. If you look down in chapter two and verse 25, this is my favorite part that he describes how Adam and Eve lived in the garden is that Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

They were created with no shame. They had nothing to be ashamed. They had nothing on them, but they were unashamed of the way that they were made. Anybody in here can say that they’ve lived a life without any shame? No. Right? I can’t say it either. I have a life full of shame. I have a life that’s full of regretful decisions and things that I wish that I didn’t do, but amen. I am where I am, and that’s okay. But I think that there was a lot of points in my time growing up as a kid that I didn’t trust God, and that because of not trusting, trusting in God, I made a lot of decisions that literally just were the complete opposite of the way that God had intended us to live and the way that he wanted me to live. And that led me astray in several different ways, and Adam and Eve were no different. And later on, when you read in chapter three, as a lot of us know, right after it’s described, like, this amazing place, right in chapter three, it literally says, the fall of man is the heading of the next chapter.

And the thing that’s really just what I think is just, again, as we want to look at this really quick, and they will lead astray by the one thing that God told them not to do, if I was basically to put like an illustration of basically what God was telling them not to do is literally this: do not eat. It’s like a sticky note from God that says do not eat from God, basically. And this is the part that drives me crazy. They had all of the fruit tree. They had all of the food that was available to them in the garden. And God told them there was literally one thing do not touch it. Do not eat it. Don’t even go near it. And in my mind, I’m sometimes thinking, like my logistical mind, I can think if I have 99.99% of something, what’s that .01%? And why don’t I have that? Like, you can have so much of something, but there’s that one little bit that you don’t have, and you’re wondering, Why don’t I have that? I deserve that .01%, don’t I? Like that’s the way that I can think sometimes.

I can think that all the stuff that I’ve been given in my own life up to this point, I can think, Why don’t I have more? Why don’t I have the fullness that I think that I deserve from God and the thing that I love, the thing that’s just mind boggling in chapter three, the serpent literally tells him, he says, For God knows when you eat from this fruit, you will be like Him. So this is what he tells them. So he made Adam and Eve believe that God was holding the .01% from them. So he was making them believe that despite everything that God gave them, he was holding out on them. There was something that God was keeping from them because he wanted to keep it for Himself. And he’s God. If he decided to command that, that’s the end of the conversation. But the serpent led them to believe that God was holding out on them and there was something that they deserve that they should have had to be just like God. And the questions that he asked in the statement he said earlier, he says, Did God really say that?

That’s one of the first things he asked them. When he asked Adam and Eve about the tree, they said, God said, don’t touch this tree. Don’t eat from this tree. And Satan’s reply was did he really say that? That’s his reply. He’s making them doubt, making them question what God has commanded. He says things like, certainly you will not die. You will be like God. He says, you will know good from evil. So he made them buy into this doubt that there was something that God was holding out on them and that he wanted and made them believe that they wanted to be exactly like God, not knowing what would happen as a result. I think for me, this idea of wanting something more happens in our own lives every single day. There’s always something that we’re sometimes craving more of. There’s always something we’re desiring more of. I’ll give you a couple of examples, and a couple of these apply to me. I think one of the things that even I can personally struggle with is, like, why am I not married? Why don’t I have a significant other? Why don’t I have kids at this point? I can struggle with thinking that who I am is not enough, and I need to have that significant other in order to feel complete. I can think of my 2003 Honda Pilot that I drive outside with, like, 210,000 miles. So many of the teens and campus have rode in this car over the last three years, and I love that thing to death, but I can catch myself in those moments while I’m driving, and I see a nicer car on the road, and I’m just like, why don’t I have that car? So you see where I’m going with this. It’s like, we can lead ourselves, but even with what we have, we see something else, and then all of a sudden we’re convinced that I want what they have or I want something better than what I have. Some of the other things, we can get convinced of. I know most of the adults in this room can relate. We think we don’t have enough money. I know I struggle with this. I think that, why don’t I have my own house? I struggle with these things a lot. I can even share a personal story.

Like I shared, I started working for the ministry back in October of last year. That was when I left my full time job at Sam Ash Music. It was a music retail store that I had worked in for eight years. And I built up a great rapport with so many customers, with so many of my coworkers and stuff. And I started working for the ministry in 2020, working part time. So I had two jobs going on at the same time. I clocked out of Sam Ash and I clocked into teen ministry is usually how my weeks went. And eventually I got, like, an increase so that I could actually lead more in the worship aspect so that I could actually help in terms of music and helping with Sunday services. Many of you guys know I used to travel to the south sector and I used to help with that. So at that point, when I was making most of the money, I was like, I’m balling. I was like, I got money, I’m balling, I got some funds. I’m doing good. So I had convinced myself that, man, I’m doing good. I’m earning exactly what I deserve.

And then the challenge came when I got asked to go into the ministry full time. And for the first couple of months, it was like, okay, yeah, I’m good. And then I think around maybe March of this year, I had a really hard moment where I was literally thinking to myself, I’m like, I don’t get paid enough to do this. And I don’t mean that in a funny way. I mean that I genuinely thinking that the Orlando church doesn’t pay me enough. I was in that mindset of really being selfish and thinking that what I was making was not sufficient for me. What I was making was not sufficient for what I want from my life. And I think that, I had to confess this and I had to share with some of the ministers in the church and I had to tell them about this because I was like in some cases I think that maybe I convince myself that even if I tell them that maybe it shouldn’t sound so bad, maybe they’ll pay me more. But I got challenged and I’m like what are you actually doing with the money that you’re given?

Like what am I actually doing with the money that I’ve been given? Especially blessed by you guys without whom I would not have a job. And I think what am I doing with what God has given me through that? And I think that if any of these things apply to you or if none of these things apply to you there is something in your life that you think you don’t have enough of. There’s something in your life that Satan has convinced you that you don’t have enough of. And that is where that separation of that’s where that separation of God and man happen. Adam and Eve were convinced that they didn’t have enough that having everything they did was not enough. They needed to be God. And what happened? They lost everything. They lost everything. They got cast out of the garden. So sometimes you think to ourselves and just like man, I wish we could have been living in the garden. Can you imagine living in the Garden of Eden with everybody here and everyone in the entire world? That would be incredible. But we can’t and we never will again. We can never go back to the garden.

And this was as a result of us wanting more. But the thing that I love about this as we continue to talk about this is that that wasn’t the end of the story. Leaving home and losing our home wasn’t the end of the story because God had intended to help get us back home and he did that many times. There are many instances in the Bible you can see from thinking of the story of moving Abraham and his family to Canaan freeing the Israelites from slavery and giving them an exodus from Egypt. Thinking of returning the Israelites when they were in exile from Babylon and literally returning them back to Jerusalem so that they could be home in their home. So, it’s not that God has not made several attempts to help to bring us back home but nothing was working in the way that he had ordained. But again the story was not complete as of yet. I think the one thing I want us to even believe, whether you’re a Christian or not, whether you’re a disciple or not, if this is your first time visiting or if you’ve been a member of this church for 20 or 50 years, we are all looking for a way home.

All of us are always looking for a way home. But the challenge is, in the world that we live in, there’s so much confusion about what that way home is. Like, how do we get home? I will share another story from my childhood. This is a picture of the west town, the same town I showed you with the beach. This is the west town. This is called Frederickstead. And the thing that I think was always really funny about this town is that there are literally, if you look at a map of this town, there’s four streets going this way and there are four streets going that way. So the walk from one end of the town to the next takes maybe under 15 minutes. So it’s a small town. So to get lost in a town like that when I was a kid was very surprising. I think it was very impressive that I got lost in a town that has eight streets. That’s very impressive. But I think that even today when we think of navigating, just like, even, for example, most kids and people nowadays, when we navigate somewhere, what do we normally use?

We use GPS. Yeah, I heard someone say we normally use GPS. Now I think for some of the people who are not of the GPS generation or who grew into it, anybody remember printing out directions from MapQuest? Yeah, like 15 pages of paper just sitting in your lap and you’re like, frantically looking at the directions and you’re like, okay, that’s good, and you’re ready for the next one. Anybody grew up with paper maps in their glove compartment? I did. I grew up with paper maps on a 13 miles long island. So I don’t know why we had a map for the island. It was 13 miles long. But now this 1 may sound a little mean, but anybody grew up navigating by the stars except Eddie. Hey, I know he did. I’m just kidding. But the thing why I shared this all these different ways that there’s so many different ways that we can find and navigate our way home. For me, like me, we live like about 15 minutes from here on Alafaya, and I can get here one of three ways. I can get her on curry ford on lake under hill, or I can get her on the 408.

It depends on how quick I need to get here. That usually determines what route I usually take. Now, the thing that’s interesting about that is that I know how to get home mostly without having to navigate whatsoever. Like I can get home without needing to turn on my GPS. I know exactly where I’m going. I know what to see. I know what to look for. I know what streets, I know when to turn. So by my own accord, getting to my home, I know how to get there. But to get to be home with God, there is no multiple ways. There are not multiple streets that you can take to be able to get home. Turn over to John 14. We’re going to be reading, and this is going to be our other text we’re going to be reading out of. So in John 14, chapter one, we’re going to be starting reading in verse one, it says verse six, we’re going to start reading in verse one. So it says, do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God. You believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms. If that were not so what I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me, that you may also be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going. Thomas said to him, Lord, we do not know the way you’re going, so how can we know the way? Jesus answered, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and has seen Him. So this literally just this kind of just kind of shuts down the argument. This kind of shuts down the conversation. And the thing that I laughed about when I was reading this is that it says that my Father’s house has many rooms. I live in an apartment with two bedrooms and four brothers. So you do the math. And I love my roommates, but thinking of when I’m there, I’m like, man, I can’t wait for my own room in heaven. But I think that what I love about this is that in order to be able to get home, jesus literally says, I am the way, the truth and the life.

Which means, as I said earlier, there’s only one way to get to heaven. There’s only one way to be with God, and that means you have to be with Jesus. But I want to ask you real quick, do we always like that? No, I don’t always like the fact that Jesus is the only way. That means that my way can’t happen. And that’s challenging for me and for a lot of us probably as well can relate to that, because we want our own way. We want our way. We want to feel like my way is good. I want to feel like I accomplished something, that I got there of my own accord. But if we want to get home to be with God, there’s only one way, which means that we have to get out of our own way and follow the one way that Jesus gave us. And I think, again, this is super challenging because this is not only applying to getting to the end of our life and then figuring out that we want to be home with Jesus. It’s not about getting to the end of our life, and then we get to be in heaven with the many rooms that God has.

Being home with God by following Jesus starts today. So it’s not about waiting for some random chance opportunity to do it. You start finding the way home by starting today. And that’s what I want to really be able to challenge everybody with today, as we were challenging our teens with through the entire week, is that you have to be willing to go, you have to be willing to find the one way and start navigating there today. So how do we get there? What do we need? We need a GPS to get to heaven. And I think that again, Jesus is that model GPS. His entire life was literally designated to help show us how we need to live in order to be able to get home to be with God. So how do we do this? It’s like, think of like when you’re navigating directions, you’re Siri telling you, turn left at the stoplight. You normally have something that tells you that, but the Bible is that that helps to give us the directions to get home. So what do we do? I think there were three ones that I really resonated with.

The first one is we need to study Jesus life. As it said here in John 14 six, it says that he is the way, the truth, and the life. So we need to know what Jesus life was like in order to understand how we can live like him. There’s no way that we’ll be able to model our lives after Jesus if we don’t know how he lives. If you’re not spending time in your Bible, you’re not spending your time in your Bible learning about Jesus, then you’re not going to know how to get home. One of the second things that I really loved is that you need to choose to follow Him, because you now know the way. You figured out the way home, but you need to choose to follow that one way. That means saying no to all of the other ways, especially your own way. Especially me thinking of myself, I have to think of my own way, and I have to say no to it all the time. It literally says here in Matthew 16:24, it says, anyone who wants to follow me must deny themselves and take up their cross.

And even I think in Luke, it says as well, you must deny your cross daily in order to be able to follow me to be called my disciples. And I think one of the most important ones that I think we really need to stress is that we need to love how he loved. In John 13:34 it says the greatest command that I give you is to love one another as I have loved you. Can you imagine loving the entire world the way that Jesus loved us? The world would look so different and I think that all people would know how to get home to be with God if we loved them. It starts with us. It starts with us loving people. And we need to follow in this same footsteps with this. And this is how we find our one way home to be with Jesus. Amen.? So as we close, I really wanted to transition it into communion. So we know about the one way home, we know about the way, we know about where we’re going. But I think the thing that I want us to reflect on while we’re taking communion is that Jesus is the one.

As it literally says here on the shirt, it says the way home, but he is the one. So when we’re thinking about all the things that Jesus did throughout his life, all the things that he shared, all the things, people that he healed, all the sinners that he loved, he was the one that paved the entire way. As it says here in 2 Corinthians, it says here in 2 Corinthians five, verse 14 and 15, it says, for Christ the love compels us because we are convinced that one died for all and therefore all died. He died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and was raised again. So again, this doesn’t say that we will live at a certain point in time for God. This says that we will live, which means that it starts today. That means that it’s like if something is on your heart and you want to know about this one way, talk to somebody who’s here, talk to anybody who brought you to service. Talk to any one of us. I want to be able to be at the end of this life and be able to say that I can go home with God, but I have to start today.

And I would challenge us that we have to start today. So as we reflect on communion, let us remember that the blood of Jesus is what paved this entire way home. The blood of Jesus lay the foundation for the way to get home to be with God. And it’s through Him that we are saved, not by our own merits, not by our own way. Let’s pray for communion. God, thank you so much just for this blessed day that you have ordained for us. Thank you for an opportunity to be able to be here in your fellowship. Thank you that you have just given us away home. God, we are always searching for home. We’re always searching for a place to feel safe, a place to feel that we are with you. But God, it’s not something that we have to wait for. It’s something that I pray that we can take hold of today. God, I just pray that as we take this juice and we take the bread, that we can reflect on Your son Jesus, who paved the way by suffering and dying for us, dying for our sins, for something that we don’t deserve.

We don’t deserve to have someone given up his life for us. But he chose to do so freely. And because he does so, we must die to ourselves as well. God has to take communion, I pray that we can continue to live not for ourselves, but live for the way that you have called us to be. Live for the way that Jesus has called us to be. Thank you so much for this day. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.