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About this series
Doing Less, Loving More
Most of us live very complex lives that move too fast, deliver too little, and demand too much. We often succumb to the push and pull of all the demands. We lack time for God, relationships, or ourselves. We know we need to change our pattern of life, but we either put it off or just don't know how to get started. In the end, there's a key question we need to ask and answer: What do we want to be known for? It is possible to break free from the high speed, high pressure, high demand, guilt-producing disease of our lives. The answer is counter-intuitive and it's found in 1 Corinthians 13. Discover what is needed to enjoy Spiritual Simplicity in today's fast paced lifestyles.More from this series
And the big question that I want to ask and answer is, how do you sustain spiritual simplicity and every week we’ve had a song. Were any of you, kind of waiting, wondering what the song was going to be this week? Come on, go ahead. Were you? Alright. This is my favorite song of all the songs because it’s my era. It’s the O’Jays. It’s Get on Board the Love Train and we’re gonna talk about getting on a train.
I’ll explain what that train is, I’m going to explain theologically what that train looks like, and then I’m going to give you a game plan to get on, stay on, bring other people on a love train. So, what is the love train? I sat down and you know what? I don’t know where the O’Jays are coming from but I know where God’s coming from.
And the love train to God is a supernatural community that is forcefully moving through his story that we call history, to bring life and love. He wants to bring that up there, his kingdom, a little bit of it, down here where people that have no idea that there is a God who is real, who is loving, and who cares.
And he wants you and me on this love train and he wants us to invite people by how we live and what we do. And the love train is the church of Jesus Christ.
And I’ll tell you what. The tracks are God’s sovereign, faithful, unchanging purposes. And he’s gonna fulfill his plan over time. And it’s a time to glorify himself, to bring all things under the reign of Christ, to present to himself a people to be loved and to be loved by Him in a new heaven and a new earth forever.
And the ticket has already been purchased. It was purchased by Christ on the cross for everyone and everyone who is willing to believe, to turn from your sin. God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whosoever would believe in him shouldn’t perish but have eternal life. A quality of life that begins now. And that goes on forever and ever and ever.
It’s the love train. The architect is God the Father from the foundations of the earth. The engineer at the head of this train is the Lord Jesus Christ and we are his body and he is the firstborn from the dead. And the conductor going up and down the train checking on you and checking on me and wanting to know how’s it going and letting you know where the stops are is the Holy Spirit.
And it’s a real train and it’s kinda almost like a liquid relational train too because there’s times where we’re all spread out. Going all kind of different places, but God has these tracks and this train called his church is moving on it.
And he’s invited you to come aboard and to bring others. And it makes lots of stops. And if you want to write something under the stops? The frequent stops are wherever there’s a human need. That’s where the love train stops.
When there’s a lonely person, the love train stops. Someone needs aid, someone has a financial need, someone is depressed, someone is discouraged, someone in your neighborhood, someone at work, someone in your family.
Every time there’s a human need, the love train stops and the Spirit of God, dwelling inside your mortal body as you’re abiding in him, will take the truth of his Word out of your lips and your hands and your life and your money and your gifts and he’ll express the love of God through you.
And I want to say, get on board. Get on board. You get on board the love train, you’ll simplify your life. You’ll stop doing some stuff that’s meaningless. You’ll stop pretending.
You’ll stop trying to gain approval and you’ll stop all kind of things that seem so important now but six seconds after you die, you’ll look back on your life and realize, it was junk. It was silly. It was irrelevant. I was playing trivial pursuit but for real.
Well, you say to yourself, okay. I got it. If you’re an artist, the message of living a sustained, spiritually simple life is to get on board the love train.
We talked about the process, and I’ll review it for you at the end. You gotta surrender at a certain point of time in your life, you gotta step away from the world, you gotta step into community, you gotta step up and be who God made you to be, and then you gotta step out.
Now, let me give you the theology. II Corinthians. Open your Bible to about the middle and then go way to the right. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Romans, I Corinthians, then II Corinthians.
II Corinthians chapter 5. I want you to understand. This is God’s love train. This is the Apostle Paul and he so understands. In the midst of his hurt and his pain, he’s going to talk about it before this passage how he’s perplexed and how he’s discouraged and he’s down but not out and difficulty.
And then he’s going to get to the end of this passage in chapter 6 and he’s going to talk about what he’s actually been through.
And squeezed into all the adversity in life, he understands that life matters when you live and have an eternal perspective. And in verse 14, he tells us very clearly - he says - for Christ’s love compels us because we are convinced that one died for all and therefore all died.
And he died for all, that those who lived should live no longer for themselves but for him who died and was raised again. So, just notice here. Christ’s love compels us.
What’s life like on the love train? It is not trying hard. It is not being moral. It’s not coming to church. And it’s not being religious. It is being connected in surrender where the Spirit of God through the word of God in authentic community. His love compels you.
Actually, the word is, it’s a picture of being hemmed in. If you’ve ever seen one of those movies, you know like, one of the old Batman movies where the walls are coming in and they’re trying to get out of there? Or a Indiana Jones movie?
The Apostle Paul is using that word to say, the love of God is just hemming me in. I’m compelled. I am so loved and see the plight of people apart from his love, I have to do this from the inside out. And then notice he says. It changes his focus. He says, we’re convinced that one died, therefore, all died. And he died for those, here’s the focus. That we should live no longer for ourselves.
That’s big. That’s what surrender is about. This isn’t like Christ is a part of your life. This is where the central focus of why you get up and what you do and what you do with your time, your money, your energy, and your relationships. You don’t live for you anymore.
We no longer live for ourselves, but for him - Christ, who died and rose again.
And so the question is not, what will make me happy? It’s, what will make you happy? The question is not, what do I do with my time? The question is, what do I do with the time entrusted to me?
The question is not, what do I think I should do with my kids? The question is, what does your word say I ought to do and must do with my kids? See, it’s a radical change on the love train.
Then he goes on to say, in verse 16, it gives you new eyes. So, notice the purpose. From now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view. The once regarded, we regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
I have it memorized in a different version and it’s amazing when you’re reading these words and my brain’s saying another one.
In my version from many years ago: therefore, from now on, we recognize no man according to the flesh, even though we have known Christ according to the flesh.
He says, when you’re compelled by the love of God and you’re now not living for you, but you’re living for him, he says, you get a new set of eyes. And the color of their skin and their background and whether they’re smelly or clean; whether they’re cool or uncool; you don’t look at that any more.
You have that experience like Samuel the Prophet did when, you know, he said, hey I know God’s got a new king around here somewhere and the big tall handsome guy says, is that it? God says no.
And they go through all boys and finally it’s the youngest one. And then he says in that passage, I Samuel 16:7. For God doesn’t see as man sees. For man looks on the outward appearance but the Lord weighs the heart.
And when you’re on the love train, that’s what you start looking at. You look at people’s inside beauty. You start looking at where they’re really coming from. You look past all the exterior and that’s why the body of Christ starts looking real, real different.
With all different kinds of people. With all of our different baggage. All of our different struggles, all of our different backgrounds, all of our different colors, all of our different cultures. It’s what the love train’s all about.
And not only that, do you get new eyes, but you get a new hope. Verse 17. He goes on to say. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away the new has come.
You know, we quote that, and I actually got in a little set of verses about your new life in Christ. And it’s absolutely true that when you come and turn from your sin and receive Christ as your Savior, if anyone is in Christ, you become a new creation.
The old passes away. Behold everything, notice the tense of the verb. “Becomes”, it’s a process. “Becomes new”.
But in the context of this passage, you know what it’s saying really? It says, we don’t look at people externally anymore. And now, he says, when we look at people, there is no single person or situation beyond the love and the redemption of Christ.
What Paul’s really saying is, this whole passage is about reconciliation. This whole passage is what happens when you’re on the love train and the love of God is pulsating through your spiritual veins.
He says, you know what, I don’t look at people the way I look at them anymore. Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he’s a new creature.
The old, stuffy dude, the addictions that you had. I mean, the stuff that we think God could never forgive, the stuff about people that we want to reach. Oh, they’re never open. I got news for you. If any man is in Christ, the old has passed away. God can do anything. He wants to do anything. He did that for people in this Book, he’s done it through church history, he’s done it in this church.
And so, you get a new focus. You get new eyes. You get a new hope. And then notice in verses 18 and 19, you get a new responsibility on the love train.
The love train is not a “sit back, it’s so good to be heaven bound”. What would thou haveth me to do, thine God? He says, well, I’ll tell you what I’ll have you to do. I’ll have you strap it on. Those guys in the NFL don’t even understand what contact is all about.
I’ve sent you into a spiritual warfare, and I have equipped you and I love people and I’ve sent you to get out and rescue them.
And so, notice what it says in verses 18 and 19. He says, all this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ and, underline this in your Bible, gave us the ministry of reconciliation. That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ. And here’s the good news. Not counting men’s sins against them, and he’s committed to us this message of reconciliation.
Our message isn’t, clean your life up and start coming to church and you need to read the Bible a lot. Start doing this, this, this, this. Here’s the message. Guess what? God currently is not counting your sin against you.
He counted it and placed it on Christ. You have a ticket that’s been purchased on the love train. God loves you. And if you get honest with people and most people are running their own life, it’s not going very well.
Most marriages aren’t going very well. Most parenting isn’t going very well. Most people’s finances aren’t going very well. And if you talk real honestly with the people where it’s going really, really well. It’s a weird thing to have everything going great and have this huge emptiness in your life.
And God called you and God called me to be winsome and loving and caring and outwardly focused and to believe that no one is beyond his reach. And then you have this new responsibility.
You want to tell him. God’s not counting your sins against you. He loves you. He’s forgiven you. That’s good news. Would you like to receive the good news?
And then finally, he’s given you a new role and me a new role. Look at verse 20. He says, we are therefore, Christ ambassadors as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you, on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. The word “reconciled” just means become friends.
God’s just saying, I want to be friends with people. Sin is a barrier. Let’s get reconciled. It’s like, two people that are having trouble in a marriage, they get reconciled. People that were divorced and they realize, man, this is not working. And they repent. And they get some good counseling and they’re reconciled.
God says, I want to reconcile all people and you are my ambassadors. What’s an ambassador? An ambassador is someone from another country, from another land, who represents where he came from.
And your citizenship is heaven, and so is mine you’re in Christ and you’re heaven bound and you’re on the love train if you’re a Christ follower. And he says, I want you, like liquid, to seep into every kind of need and just love people where they’re at, don’t judge them, tell them the truth. Put your arm around them, don’t make it just words, actually help them, and tell them there’s a God who cares.
And then verse 21 is just this amazing, amazing verse of truth. It says, God made him Christ who had no sin, to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
We not only have a role as an ambassador, we now have a standing before the God of heaven that is identical to the Jesus of heaven in terms of God seeing us completely righteous. A son and a daughter.
That’s why the love of Christ compelled him. Paul’s a very, very, very religious man until he got saved. And then he realized how broken all of his religiosity was. And then he got in relationship with the living God and then he became a passionate, relational follower of the living Christ with unlimited power.
That little phrase: who was dead and came back to life. And Paul would remind us that same power dwells in you if you’re a Christ follower.
So, spiritual simplicity. How are we going to sustain it? Number one, here’s a little word picture. Get on the love train. And then second, remember the theology. When you’re rightly connected to the living Savior, the love of Christ will compel you.
This is not about duty. This isn’t about oughts. This isn’t about shoulds. This is about God’s love being so experienced because you step down. And you stepped away. And you stepped in. And you stepped up. And you can’t help yourself. You’re stepping out and reaching and caring for people.
And when that begins to happen, you don’t live for you anymore. You have a new focus, you live for Him. And the you get new eyes. You don’t see the same way. And then you, there’s a hope for everyone that you meet, no matter where they’ve been, what they’ve been through.
And then you realize, I got a new responsibility. My new responsibility isn’t just kid’s SAT scores or someday, someway I hope I’ll get married or I hope this job works out or maybe someday this thing will go, you know, IPO. Or maybe the…
There’s all kind of important things in life but your core responsibility is to be an ambassador, a representative of the living God wherever you are and that your ministry is reconciliation.
And he’s given you gifts and dreams and desires so that you can do that all kind of different ways and all kind of different businesses and all kind of different gifts and all kind of different roles.
And you can be moms and sisters and dads and nephews and nieces and schoolteachers and bricklayers and plumbers and we can just be all kind of things because he needs all kind of people that, at the end of the day, what we realize first and foremost, we’re on the love train.
And we’re imploring people to be reconciled to God. Because he became sin, the sin offering, for them and for us that they and we, if we by faith, would receive it would become the righteousness of God.
Well, the picture is one thing. The theology is another. The third is, I just call it a game plan. How does it really work? And I’m going just to walk you through this.
A lot of this you’ve hopefully, some of you are going to say, I have heard this before. You should. Okay? I mean this isn’t new. I’ve heard this before.
So, if I would stop right here and say, okay. If the incarnate Jesus in the supernatural body would come from behind that curtain, walk out, and I could say, excuse me, Jesus. I know you don’t need a microphone, but I’d like to ask you a question.
We’re all here, live in the Silicone Valley, there’s a lot of pressure. You know, the world’s kinda crazy now. I’m sure, oh yeah, that’s right. You do know everything, I don’t need to inform you.
Um, here’s what I’d like to ask you. What do you want us to do? I mean, could you just give it to us? What exactly, in a sentence, do you want us to do with our lives? Lord Jesus, could you give it to us?
I think he’d say, love God, love people.
It’s how, that’s how simple life is. We get it really complicated. Love God. Are you loving God? Now, I didn’t say feel like you love. Love God. We’ve spent eight weeks talking about what it looks like to love God. But just, love God and love people.
The ultimate test of success and the ultimate test of spiritual maturity of becoming what he commanded, make disciples, is that I love God more deeply and authentically each day and I love others more sincerely and more practically in ways they can understand.
And I, the Apostle Paul again, then takes what Jesus said, that very simple thing. And then in Romans chapter 12 he says, let me show you what it looks like to love God, verses 1 and 2.
Let me show you what it looks like to love others as yourself, verses 3 through the end of the chapter.
And so, why we talk about an R12 Christian here? It’s not some standard. It’s what the love of God produces in relationship. And so the profile of a disciple is verse 1 of chapter 12 of Romans. You’re surrendered to God.
Verse 2, is this. We are not conformed to this world. So we step away. And we’re transformed by the renewing of our mind that our actual lifestyle would prove or demonstrate what God’s will is.
Verse 3 is, we get a sober self-assessment. We don’t think too highly of our self or either too low. We think of ourselves accurately, clearly. Our role in the body, verse 4 and 5. Our gifts operational, verses 6 through 8.
And then in verses 9 through 13, we’re surrendered to God, yes. We’re separate from the world’s values, we’re sober in self-assessment. And then in verses 9 through 13, we’re serving in love.
We’re actually doing life with each other. We don’t come to an event called church or even to a small group. We let love be without hypocrisy. We abhor what is evil. We cling to what is good. We’re devoted to each other with brotherly love.
We give preference to each other in honor. We lay our lives out for one another. We love each other in such a way that people outside can’t understand. It’s not an organization. It’s a living organism of people connected to God and connected to each other who serve each other.
And then verse 14 to 21, we’re supernaturally responding to evil with good. So when our enemies need food, we feed them and when they want a drink, we give them something to drink and when we’re harmed, we don’t take our own revenge but we overcome evil with good.
So, do you get it? It’s real simple. Spiritual simplicity. Love God, love others. What’s spiritual simplicity look like? An R12 Christian. Well, how do you practice that?
I mean, how do you operationalize becoming an R12 Christian that’s surrendered to God and separate from the world’s values and has a sober self-assessment and is serving in love and supernaturally responding to evil with good?
What practices actually have to happen? Because an R12 Christian is what you are to be. The three practices are what you are to do in dependency and faith so God gives you the grace to become what he wants you to become.
And we use the acronym BIO, and you see it around here, because it’s about life. It’s not about religion. It’s not about duty. And so, our goal, you will never become an R12 Christian, nor will I, unless on a daily basis you’re in God’s word, surrendered to him.
What it means to be surrendered is, on a certain day, at a certain time you say, God I’m all in. But it’s not just a decision. Then you say, that means whatever you say in your word about anything, I will obey it.
I’m gonna obey it when it looks like a great deal. I’m gonna obey it when I’m thinking, oh God, surely. I don’t want to do this. But by faith I’m going to believe that if you say it in your word, I guess handling my money this way will keep me out of debt.
Well, I guess doing relationships this way, will not only stop sexually transmitted diseases but I’ll probably stay married to the same person for a long time. And I guess if raising my kids this way, it’ll create…
But you say, that’s hard. No, no, no it’s not hard. It’s impossible. I can’t do this. You can’t do this.
But the word of God, as you talk with God, in the context of God people, gives you grace. Grace is the want to and the will to and power to do God’s will. And so, we’re asking and trying to create ways where you can be before God.
And I don’t mean just having a devotional life. I mean, be before God daily. You experience his presence, you talk with him in the car. You utter quick prayers before meetings.
You’re mad and you’re angry, oh God, will you help me with this? It’s this living reality. You don’t live for yourself. You’re living with him and for him. And then you’re before him regularly on a weekend where you worship and have instruction and say, God, I want to join with the family. And so, that’s a practice. It’s a discipline.
The second is to live in community. And to be in community is not joining a small group. You need to be in a small group but community is when the real you meets real needs for the right reason in the right way.
It’s when you take off your mask and I take off my mask. It’s when you have a need or someone has a need and you spend some money you don’t have or you give some time that you don’t have to really help someone and then God goes, whooooh, and you experience his grace.
And the “O” for life of BIO is you’re on mission. You’re on mission at 24 Hour Fitness, you’re on mission at the job, you’re on mission when you’re just walking in the neighborhood. You’re on mission when you’re at Home Depot, you’re on mission when you’re at Target. You’re on mission when there’s a crisis at your house.
You are on mission asking the Spirit of God to give you the wisdom to know what it looks like to serve and to reach out and to be a minister of reconciliation as an ambassador from heaven. Now does this make sense? This is not, you know, rocket science. This is not overly difficult. This is the game plan that’s aligned in scripture for you to be on the love train.
Now, there’s some processes that I’ve observed over the years. I don’t have a verse for these and so you can weigh these but there’s three things I’ve seen over the years that ignite life change.
The first one is, and I’ve got a lot of demographics and a lot of actual content on this one. We began to teach Romans 12:1 and the R12 series about four or five years ago on the radio. And, by far, eighty five percent of all the feedback, thousands and thousands of emails.
People saying, I’ve been a Christian ten years, five years, seven years, three years, and I don’t know what happened. I’ve never heard about surrender. I prayed today to be all in and then the testimonies go on, and they start talking about radical life change.
Restoration in marriages, alignment with God’s will, restoration of finances. In other words, the action doesn’t really happen until you, on a certain day at a certain time, come to the actual reality that there’s a ladder or something you’re dependant on that is not the lordship of Jesus Christ and you get down and you surrender.
When that happens, things begin to occur in people’s lives. Radical things occur. Now, you’ll notice, I want to connect the phobia with the reason people don’t do that [be all in] is fear of the future.
Okay? Let’s just get this all out in one good session together. The reason people don’t go all in is, “I’m afraid if I go all in, if I’m married, I won’t be married”. “I’m afraid if I go all in, I got some money now and I may not have some money”.
Because the issue is control. The issue is, I have to be in control because I know what outcomes are best for me and this all-knowing, all-powerful God that died on a cross, was risen from the dead, and loves me. I mean, what’s he know?
See, it’s not logical, is it? But, I mean, I will just tell you, the Pew Research, the Gallup Research, and the Barna Research that we instituted, the last one, nine out of ten Christians in America are not all in.
If you’re not all in, there’s no power. It’s just like, yeah, you know I can be in. There’s no flow. You’re not compelled by the love of Christ. You’re not living for him, you’re living for you.
And by, you know, I’ve been there, done that. It doesn’t work. But it’s the fear of the future. And until you can say, that’s why Psalm 84:11 is like, this verse that I just harp on all the time.
It says, the Lord God is a sun and a shield. The Lord gives grace and glory. No good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
That was, for me, okay. I’m gonna get the best by surrendering. Have you done that?
See, you can, you can read the Bible a little bit, be involved in, you can do all kind of things to avoid that. You will never experience the power of God and the life change ignites it.
The second process is in this area of, in community. And it’s the fear of rejection. I’ve watched this happen, I’ve been in hundreds of small groups in the last twenty-five or thirty years.
And I’ve been in small groups where nothing happens. I’ve been in small groups where we talk about the Bible a little bit and everyone stays sort of superficial. Then you eat a little bit and it’s okay and it’s social and it’s nice and you learn a little bit. It’s not the will of God.
But here’s what happens. Every small group that becomes authentic community, someone has some courage. And maybe you divide up in groups sometimes and it’s the men over here and the women over here or maybe it’s together. And someone does something like this. I feel a little bit safer here and I’ve not shared this ugly part of me before. And it’s vulnerability. And they share something that’s really real that if they get shut down, they’ll probably put it back and may never take it out again.
But at some point in time there’s this step of faith. The first, you surrender your will. Here, you surrender your image. And you let people see who you really are and this step of vulnerability and then what, I’ve watched it happen hundreds of times.
And what they assume would be met with rejection, is met with people that look and say, wow, you struggle with that too? Yeah. And you just watch the group change.
So the igniting event is when you share and you take that step where you’re in, but then you step up. But the fear is rejection. As long as you never want to be rejected, just go on record and know you’ll also never be loved. Never be loved.
Because all you’re doing and all I’m, and we all do it. We all have these defense mechanisms. I always put forth what I want people to think I am and if they love that, that’s great I guess, except it’s not me.
Because I got some good stuff but I got some bad stuff. I got some ugly stuff. I got some motives I don’t like. I have some really bad days. I have some issues I’m wrestling with. When I can put those out there and a group of people looks me in the eye and loves me, I experience the love of Christ and healing takes place. Healing takes place.
Confess your sins to one another that you might be healed, James says.
And then finally, in terms of, the third igniting process and this is like yesterday to me. I’ll never forget, I was a Christian about two and a half years. I’ll never forget the first person I ever led to Christ. I did it very poorly. I said it very slowly. And at the end, the guy says, can I receive Christ right now?
I mean, where’s Billy Graham when you need him? Yeah…well how do I do it? Uh, let’s pray together. Oh God, what do I do, what do I do, what do I do, what do I do, what do I do? And I prayed a very bad prayer for him to pray that he prayed.
And it was real and that guy’s life changed. Here’s the deal. When you risk failure and you step out with your gifts and you step out and serve and supernaturally you become the conduit of the grace of God in you and then through you.
And maybe they come to Christ or maybe their marriage turns around or maybe they were super depressed. Whatever it is, you actually realize, it was like electricity going through your body. Ooooh, this is God, this isn’t me, it went out, it did something.
When that happens, it’s wonderfully addicting. And you’ll take risks like never before. About seven out of ten Christians in America have never led anyone to Christ.
In most churches, eighty percent of the people are watching twenty percent of the people work very hard to make an organization move forward.
As you turn to the back page, I just have a little application thought that I think will be very helpful for us. It says, a call to all. Would you just write the word, an invitation to all.
There are times it doesn’t happen; maybe sometimes at the end of a series or some times when I’m praying. But I will just tell you, if I could humanly figure out how to sit across from every person in this room over a cup of coffee and hear about an hour of your spiritual journey and what’s going on and what are the barriers?
I would just plead with you about getting before God and getting in community and getting on mission and facing those fears. I would just want to say, you know something? I have so struggled with all of that and I’ve been a pastor for twenty-five, twenty-eight years.
And every time I watch people take that step of faith through those things, amazing things happen. And they’re not easy. But amazing things happen.
And here’s the invitation. What you need to hear is, you and I will constantly be looking for love in all the wrong places unless you hear Jesus say today and respond, hey, come to me. All of you that are heavy laden. That’s old words for stressed out and overcommitted, and I will give you rest.
And then it goes on to say. Take my yoke upon you. It was a picture of you know, the two oxen. And a yoke connects them. And where this one goes, this one goes. It’s really a different way to say surrender.
Do life my way. Decide and pre-decide that whatever this book says about how to do relationships or decisions, that’s how you’re gonna do it. For I’m meek and lowly in heart. In other words, I’m not pushy. I’ve got your best, and you’ll find rest for your souls.
See, the picture last week about experiencing and exporting God’s love. It really was, in all different places. Some of you are here today and, you know, you’re just like me and everybody else. You’ve tried different ways to make yourself, I am somebody now! I am significant, look at me! Look what I own! Look how I dress! Look what I’ve done! Look where my kids go to college! Look how pretty I am! Look at my muscles!
And those things, at some point in time, you just realize, you know something? What I need is to be loved for me. Not for how I look, not for what I’ve done. And in a moment of time you actually, you stop and you just say, Lord, I’m tired of trying. I surrender. And I am afraid.
And as you contemplate that, for some especially, you realize, you know, I can’t do that because I know I’m living with this person or I know that I can’t keep this activity or I know that the outrageous temper that I have behind closed doors or I know that my lack of…
And God says, okay, well step away from the things and the people and the media that pull you away from me and step into the light.
So he says, step down. Then step away. And he says, now renew your mind. You gotta get in your head and your heart, you are what you eat. You are what you think.
And then, since it’s impossible to do by yourself, he says, I want you to find a group of people, you know it might be a group of guys, might be a group of couples, might be a group of women. And just do life. Don’t have a Bible study.
And at some point in time, at the right time, maybe in the group or maybe just one or two that you really trust, share a part of you that you’re convinced if anyone ever knew it, they would reject it.
And watch where the love of God will get manifested in a way where you can say, you know, I wish I was making more at my job and I wish our marriage was a nine or a ten instead of a six and a half. But I’m on a journey and my kids aren’t perfect and I got struggles. But God loves me. And I’m learning how to love other people. And I don’t think anybody has it together.
And out of that you step up and you begin to let people see who you really are and what’s amazing is, it’s the most beautiful, dynamic, wonderful person because that’s who God made.
You don’t need to look like anyone else. You don’t need to have this or have that. If God gives you stuff, great! You’re a steward.
And then, you step out. And you say, you know something? I gotta get my focus off me. I don’t want to live for me. I want to be on mission and I want to discover what God made me to do. He’s got a plan for you.
You know, most everyone in this room, you’re exactly where you’re at today because there was some series of decisions that you made. Made a decision to go to this school and you made a decision to have kids or to marry someone or not to marry someone. Or, you made a decision to get up and come here.
There’s more to life than making decisions but every pivotal moment begins with a decision. And I would just wonder and I know I can’t do it. But I so want you to have it.
I wonder what would happen if every person in the room that knew today, I need to step down and surrender. If today, you did it.
And for others, you said, I need to step away. You know, I’m gonna break up with that girl or break up with that guy or I’m gonna get help with that addiction or…
And for others, you stepped in and maybe it’s a ministry team or a small group or maybe you’re in one and you step up. And for others you, realize, man, I’m pretty mature and I’m soaking and sitting and I need to get my gifts in the game.