[00:00:00] Well, good morning, everyone. And welcome. It's so good to have you. I want to welcome you with me here. I want to welcome you wherever you are in whichever of our sites. And I want to welcome you if you are online. This is the very first time since we've gone online, that this message is going out. It's here is on your campus and you are, if you're at home, wherever you are, you're experiencing it.
[00:00:23] So welcome. Welcome, welcome. Hey. Uh, I want to begin. I need to do an update on something. If you'll allow me a couple of weeks ago, I asked you to do something that was absolutely crazy. Let me just recap, kind of remember with you for a moment, what we did. So I was talking to you about United Christian Youth Camp and United Christian Youth Camp is the camp that's owned by the Christian churches in Arizona.
[00:00:41] And I talked to you about the fact that so many of our lives have been changed by this camp. My life was changed and I met God. I met Lisa there. So many of our students would tell you their lives were changed there. Jordan Rowan gave a testimony. Our producer, his life was changed. So many of us, but I told you two weeks ago that there's a bit of a [00:01:00] problem because while the church has continued to limp along through the pandemic, the campus had to totally shut down, which meant they had no registrations, which meant as we've asked for, I said, Hey, I know this was really crazy.
[00:01:11] Okay. I know this is like totally crazy, but let's do something let's just do let's, let's take an offering and let's just give away our weekend offering and we'll just do without, but we'll help them. And I said, listen, a typical weekend offering somewhere around $300,000 a month. All of our campuses and our online community and what not. Let's give, let's give them $300,000.
[00:01:28] Come on, church. Don't. We've got to give an offering! And I need to tell you, we were not able to give them $300,000. So I need to tell you that... We gave them $340,000, because you gave more than a weekend offering for the camp. And I just want to say thank you church. Thank you for being that kind of church, that in a thousand of the reasons are why I love this church so much and why I love you.
[00:01:50] So thank you for your generosity. It is what builds God's kingdom. It is the thing that God allows us to participate in. That makes it so real and so tangible. Okay, well, let's get to going. [00:02:00] All right. So this was a crazy week. All right. This is a crazy week and it feels like everything is on edge to the entire world we're living in is just teetering on the balance.
[00:02:07] All right. Now, if you were at our Pause: Prayer meeting last Sunday night was awesome. If you were there, you know, it was, but one of the things that we talked about is there was inevitable that. One of two things was going to happen either you're. Again, we'd check our voter ID cards at the door. We talked about that, but that doesn't mean that some of you are, you know, we're going to be elated and some of you were going to be distressed.
[00:02:28] And I said on Sunday night, I said, I don't know which camp you're in, but some of you are going to be elate now. Here's what's happening right now. Some of you, and again, okay. Some of you are elated and some of you are absolutely distressed. Okay. Cause some of it for you, it worked out exactly like you hoped it would.
[00:02:43] And for others of you, it just couldn't have gone worse. And so I don't know where you are in industry. It doesn't matter in these moments. Okay. This is about something greater than that. But I do want to say this it's easy to be happy when whenever it turned out the way you want your character though, is never revealed more than when you didn't get your way.
[00:03:01] [00:03:00] And I want to remind you of that. When everything goes the way I want, it's really easy for me to be all that. But when it didn't go the way I want it, whatever that is, uh, my character starts to reveal itself. So I say that to say this, these are difficult days to be living and we as a country or trying to find our way through this.
[00:03:19] And again, it's not a political thing. It's just the reality. These are crazy, crazy, crazy times. And honestly, I don't think it could be a whole lot more challenging. So I sat down and I said, look, you take a global pandemic, you add racial tension to the mix, you add economic worries. You have to replace a Supreme court justice, you up, increase in COVID cases, add that, and then have this crazy presidential election as the cherry on top of the cake.
[00:03:45] And you just go, it just, this is absolutely craziness that we're living through. Now we know this isn't what happened now. But you know, earlier this week, I don't know if you follow this, but they were talking about that. There was a way in that some political person [00:04:00] figured out there was a way that how this could have ended is 269 to 269 electoral votes.
[00:04:07] Wouldn't that just be like 2020? That it would end up like that. Right? Obviously it didn't end up that way, but man, It's just, it's done something to us. And that's what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about the stress of the world we're now living in. The stress that's taking its toll on us as individuals.
[00:04:27] The stress has taken its toll on us in our marriages. The stress has taken its toll on us, in our families and our homes. The stress is taking its toll in our businesses. The stress it's taking it's toll on our church and churches across America. It is a very, very stressful time. And for most of us you would just go look, my emotions right now are just fried.
[00:04:48] They're just fried. And I just can't take another thing. Okay. I don't know what's next. All right. But pretty soon, 2020's, gonna be in the rear view mirror? Can I get an amen from anybody? All right, we're gonna, [00:05:00] we're gonna celebrate our Christmas. Our Christmas is All I Want for Christmas. That's the theme.
[00:05:05] All I want for Christmas is 2021. That's it. Okay. Just don't miss our Christmas theme. But I was thinking about this again, this just crazy time that we're all living through and none of us, none of us are above it. I mean, we're all in it. When um okay. I'm going to tell you guys something that's going to blow some of your minds.
[00:05:23] All right. When I was a kid. Uh, we did not have video games. Okay. I know what, no, we didn't really, we didn't have video games and I know this is gonna sound really weird, but like, when we like football, like when we would play football, we would actually like go outside and get a football. I know this is weird.
[00:05:42] Cause somebody guys you're kidding. No, we would actually see. Now we can just play it on video games. But we used to go actually go to the park and play football. And so that's what we did, but you couldn't always go outside. Cause sometimes it was dark and sometimes it was snowing where I grew up. And so we longed for some way to play football indoors.
[00:05:58] And so [00:06:00] somebody came up with a solution and there was a game that I remember very clearly playing when I was a kid. And I'm going to, well I couldn't find the game. Okay. It's just too long ago, but I wasn't able to find a video that just showed it. In fact, let me, let me show you the video. Some of you will remember this.
[00:06:14] Let me show the video and then I'll explain why this to me is the picture of the day we are now living in. Watch this.
[00:06:36] Yeah, that was it. That was how many, remember electric football! Yeah baby. So what you do is you set your offense and your defense you'll be playing against somebody. Then you put this little felt thing on one of the guys. He was your running back. And then you literally lined it up and then you, you turn it on and it was just loud humming noise that you heard.
[00:06:56] And then all that happened was the board just vibrated and [00:07:00] everything from that point on was random and chaos. Okay. And wherever things went, I mean, you guys would end up in the corner, you know, you guys be spinning around with some other guy, you know, that's the world, we're now living in. Can anybody
[00:07:11] give me an amen, it's crazy. Isn't it absolutely crazy. But this is the world that we now have. So amidst all this random confusion that we're now living through. Months and months ago, we planned to begin a new series today, had no idea where we'd be today. And I just see how God does this stuff. But we began a new series today.
[00:07:32] We've planned months ago called NOiSE. Noise. And this series is going to have three weeks. Okay. Let me just tell you what each week. Today, we're going to talk about hearing loss. Planned months ago, hearing loss. Next week we're going to talk about how then do I hear God? How do I hear from God? How do I hear his voice
[00:07:47] amidst the noise? And week number three of the series are going to be about healthy habits and rhythms that we can get into so that we can listen. Now, I want you to just imagine the noise you're living in. So this, this is only going to work to a degree. But I want you to [00:08:00] imagine you and your sweetheart, or you're sitting on a sidewalk cafe and you're sharing a cup of coffee and an intimate conversation.
[00:08:05] And this is what you hear. Just listen.
[00:08:19] See that's the ambient noise that's going on around you all the time. All right. That's dogs, barkin and cars and horns honking and sirens going off and car alarms and people talking on cell phones and people talking out on the table next to you. And we have among all this cacophony of noise, we now live in,
[00:08:35] we try to converse. All right. And, and sometimes what we're actually saying gets drowned out because it's just too loud out and, and it's so hard to hear, but that's the way it is. So what I want to wrestle with though is what is this noise doing to us? Now let me get really clear. What is all the noise in your life doing to you as an individual?
[00:08:55] What is it doing to you in your faith in God? And what is this [00:09:00] he's doing to us as a church and as a culture, as a people, as a country? What is all this noise. So that's what we're going to wrestle with. All right. Now I wanna, I wanna take you to the Bible and I want to show you something. When I just a simple principle, when things get loud, this is what I want you to understand.
[00:09:19] When things get loud, things get crazy. When things get loud, things get crazy. All right now, take your Bible and go to Acts, start with chapter 17. I want to show you two scenes in the book of Acts. Now I want to remind you and it's real important. Okay. We want you to know your Bible. We want you to be so comfortable with your Bible that you feel like it's my friend.
[00:09:41] I know how to read. I know how to find my way around it. So. We just keep teaching and teaching and teaching. Okay. So the new Testament begins with the birth of Jesus. All right. And it starts with four biographies. I've talked about this recently. Matthew Mark, Luke, and John. Four biographies of one person, the man, Jesus Christ is four guys explaining what they saw
[00:10:00] [00:09:59] Jesus do. Matthew Mark, Luke and John. The fifth book is called the book of Acts and it's called the acts of the apostles. But the fifth book is the sequel to Luke. It's written by the same guy. He goes, okay. Volume two. After Jesus, cause this goes, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and go until Jesus is crucified and rises from the dead. Acts, then picks the story up and it takes you to the next, the next scene of the early church.
[00:10:23] All right? So we're going to go to the early church, two scenes that happened. And we're going to the first one's going to be in Acts chapter 17. So if you find Acts 17 they're in Thessalonica, and it's going great. The church is going great. Okay. Let me just read to you. Now I'm going to tell you in advance.
[00:10:38] There's a word I'm going to I'm on a trip on my tongue. My tongue is going to get tangled. Okay. It's just not going to come out right. I'm going to tell you this in advance because when I get there, you're going to go "that's the word." All right? There's a there's. Let's see, I, I, I'm going to butcher it. All right.
[00:10:52] Read along with me okay. Acts chapter 17. When Paul and his companions had passed through. That's a word, [00:11:00] Amphipolis, Amphipolis Amphipolis. I have no idea how you say that. All right. And Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica where there was a Jewish synagogue as was his custom. It's going to go so well. Okay. As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue and on three Sabbath days, he reasoned with them from the scriptures explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead.
[00:11:21] This Jesus who I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah he said. Now some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas as there a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women is going great. It's awesome. Paul is out there telling people about Jesus and people are going. I want in, I want, I want what they're having and they're joining the church and God's adding to their number daily.
[00:11:40] Everything is going just cool until you get to verse five. I want to show you verse five, but other Jews were jealous. So they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob. And started a riot in the city. How many of you saw that coming? That comes out of nowhere. So all of a sudden [00:12:00] there's a riot for me?
[00:12:01] There's a mob. And guess who they're looking for? The Paul and Silas, they're going after these two guys. All right. Now let me just point out a riot has to be incited. All right. Let's just start there. All right. You don't tend to form a mob and get a riot going. Without stirring some stuff up. See to get a riot going, you got to get people angry.
[00:12:22] You got to get people's emotions. You got to get them, you got to get them in. You got to stir. Okay. And you got to reach in and you've got to get a response from these. And, and, and, and you've got to have a motive. If you're going to go to that much work. Now here, the motive was very clear. It says they were jealous.
[00:12:37] They could be all kinds of reasons to incite a mob into a riot. Uh, uh, revenge, you know, or retaliation, you shouldn't to be all kinds of reasons why you'd incite a mob, but what you have to do to get a mob going is, is you have to get people upset about something. And usually now don't miss this. Usually if you use fear and the loss of influence those two go [00:13:00] together and they can really get people worked up.
[00:13:02] And so that's exactly what's happening here. It's fear and loss of influence. That's why they were jealous. And so they get this thing going. Now, let me ask you a simple question. What would it take for you to join a mob and get involved in a riot? And I know you church you'rd mild mannered, that's not your nature, but what would it take?
[00:13:22] And I guarantee you, here's what you'd have to throw your emotions way into it. And you would have to let your anger let loose. Your rage. That's what it would take. And you'd have to just be so. So uncertain of, if you don't, it's so much is at stake and that's what would cause you to most likely jump in.
[00:13:42] Now, let me show you what happens next. So we're in Acts 17. We're just picking up right after the mob was formed. They rushed to Jason's house. That's where they are in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other [00:14:00] believers before the city officials shouting.
[00:14:02] So this was happening in Jason's house. So they go to Jason's house and they go to find Paul and Silas. And yet I want to just kind of point out. Did you see the words here that see, these are, these are action verbs. It's okay. They rushed and they dragged, shouting. All right. So this is the essence of a riot.
[00:14:20] This is what it takes all of this emotion. And so all this jump down to verse eight, let me show you what happens in verse eight. Um, he gets up and he goes, Hey, they're not here. Don't don't know what to tell you. When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. Now let's stop, turmoil.
[00:14:43] That is an interesting word. Turmoil. That's not a word we use a lot. What is turmoil? Well, I looked it up. This is, this is exactly the definition. A state of great commotion, confusion, or disturbance. Tumult, agitation, disquiet. [00:15:00] It is a worked up state, you're in a state of turmoil. It's that thing that's just turning inside of you.
[00:15:06] That you got it. You got to do something cause I'm going to go crazy. What is, what is the state of your spirit? When you're in turmoil? This doesn't take a genius. It's upset. Um, so that's, what's happened now. Here's what I need you to do that. Did you know that there's more than one riot going on here in the book of Acts and in the Bible?
[00:15:28] In fact, just jump off. Just go to just go to the right two chapters. Okay. Go to, go to chapter 19. In fact, this one I want to walk you through. I want to show you every verse in this one, just because again, I just kind of show you what happened here. So let's go to chapter 19, verse 23. All right. And it says right there in my Bible of the riot in Ephesus.
[00:15:52] Okay. This is the Bible! There's riots going on. All right. The riot in Ephesus. Now follow this. Okay. Follow [00:16:00] this. This is so good about that time there arose a great disturbance about the way now, the way is the church, the way is the followers of Jesus. It was a name that was... you know the followers of the way, the way of Jesus, right?
[00:16:12] What was a commotion about? What was the disturbance? I'll look at verse 24 silversmith named Demetrius who made silver shrines of Artemis. Brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. I'll tell you who Artemis is in just a moment. Alright? He called them together, the craftsman, Hey guys, Hey guys. He called them together along with the workers in related trades and said, you, you know, my friends that we receive a good income from this business.
[00:16:37] And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and let us straight to large numbers of people here in Ephesus and his practic... in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. Now that there's danger, not only that our trade will lose this good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be [00:17:00] discredited.
[00:17:00] And the goddess herself who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world will be robbed of her divine majesty. You see what's going on? Stirring them up, get them angry. Artemis is uh, Artemis, Diana, same person, Greek, Roman mythology. This thing fell from heaven and they created a temple there and they worshiped her.
[00:17:23] It was a big deal and so Demetrius comes along and he goes, guys, you realize every good thing we got going is about to go out the window. We're going to lose everything. His motive is money is very clear. But now he changes it and he masks that to the, the name of our great goddess. Diana of Artemis, again, same person.
[00:17:44] Okay. And he's basically saying we've got to stand up for our goddess! Now, let me just say something, please listen to me. Listen very carefully. Hear me, hear me any god or goddess and you follow that you need to defend? Quit following them. [00:18:00] Did you hear me? Any god or goddess that you follow that you need to defend for the, or they're going to somehow be hurt?
[00:18:07] Stop following them. I don't need to defend God. You, God doesn't need your defense. God's God. God's. God needs to defend me sometimes I don't need to defend Him. He doesn't need, He doesn't say come on you tell them to quit picking on me. God's good. Can anyone amen this someone anywhere somewhere. God is God. Okay.
[00:18:29] He doesn't need our defense. He doesn't need us to come to his rescue. Any god or goddess you follow, who needs your defense. I'm just telling you to get out now. Okay. Cause you're not following a god or a goddess. Okay. Cause there's one. God. All right. Are we clear? But let me show you what happens next.
[00:18:46] Let me read you this one. Okay. So let me pick it up here. Verse 28, because this is so good. So good. So good. Okay. Verse 28. When they heard this, what did they hear? Oh, they're threatening Artemis. They're threatening our [00:19:00] business. When they heard this, they were furious and they began shouting. Great is Artemis of the Ephesians.
[00:19:08] Soon, the whole city was in an uproar that people sees Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's traveling companions from Macedonia and all of them rest into the theater together. Paul wanted to appear before the crowd that the disciples would not let them, even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul sent a message to him, begging him not to venture into the
[00:19:27] assembly. Okay. Sure. Great is great is Artemis greatest. If you agree, shout with me. Great is Artemis. So this whole thing is in everyone in the city's being worked up. You see what's happening. Let me show you again. Let me show you the action verbs. This is what I just read. They were furious. They were shouting, there was an uproar.
[00:19:45] They seized, they rushed. You see the emotions? Just getting carried away, man. Just spinning out of control. Let me ask you the simple question. Have you ever let your emotions get ahead of your thinking? Everybody raise your hand. [00:20:00] Right now. And what happens when that happens? You said, and do stupid things that you come to regret.
[00:20:06] Amen. Amen. Okay. So we're losing control here. And in fact, let me just show you the next verses this 32 on down. The assembly was in confusion. Some were shouting, one thing, some, another, most of the people, they need them to know why they were there. The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander to the front and they, they shouted instructions at him.
[00:20:27] He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people. But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours. Great is Artemis of the Ephesians. And you just see this chaos, total confusion, shouting this shouting that two of the most were the most amazing sentences in the Bible are in that little passage.
[00:20:49] Can I show them to you? Okay. Don't miss them. Number one. Most of the people didn't even know why they were there. Isn't that awesome. I am so [00:21:00] upset. I am so worked up. I am so angry. I am so fed up. Well, why don't we set up about, okay. You want to know what happens when you get that worked up? The next one, they all shouted in unison for about two hours.
[00:21:17] I am so angry. What am I angry about? Two hours. I am so I'm still angry. Two hours later. Not a clue as to why what's at stake here. What's going on. This is what happens when emotions get carried away. Folks, we do crazy, crazy things. Oh, I got, I just got to read this, go, go to Acts begin with verse 35. Okay.
[00:21:42] This is just the next verses. The city clerk, quieted the crowd and said fellow Ephesians. Hey folks. Doesn't all the world know that the great city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis in her image. Don't everybody know this. Okay. There's common knowledge, which fell from heaven.
[00:21:59] And [00:22:00] therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to calm down. And do not do anything rash. You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess. And if then this is so sound it, then Demetrius. Remember him. He's the guy that started the riot. He's the guy that, you know, stirred them all up.
[00:22:21] If then Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a grievance against anybody. The courts are open and there are pro consoles and they can press charges. If there's anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly. As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting, because what has happened today. In that case, we would not be able to give a count of this commotion since there is no reason for it.
[00:22:45] After he said this, he dismissed the assembly, talk some sense into them and said, go home. And let me just make sure you saw that line. Okay. You got to calm down, not do anything rash. [00:23:00] And if you don't, if you don't look, what's going to happen, we're going to have to account for this commotion. Since there is no reason for it, we're going to be held accountable.
[00:23:09] And they're talking to course in a civil sense. Why am I telling you all this? Why, why is this the subject of today? Folks here's the reason. Okay. And I'm not going to tell you what you don't already know. These are incredibly hard times we're living in. These are hard times. There is nothing easy about the times we're living in every one of us is having to figure out how to navigate our way through and be the most difficult year of our lives.
[00:23:34] All of us are doing this right now. Every one of us there is nothing easy. Oh, okay. Let me take that back. It's easy to become extremely agitated and worked up right now. Just about over, just about anything that's easy. It's easy right now. Okay. There's another one to allow our emotions to get the best of us.
[00:23:58] That's easy. [00:24:00] And why then another one it is allow, it is easy right now to allow fear to rule our day, but there's nothing else. That's okay. Here's another one. It's easy to become riled up over things that would never agitate us otherwise, but that's all. No, no. There's one more. It is extremely easy to make enemies with people who disagree with us. Right now.
[00:24:26] That's easy.
[00:24:30] Folks with all this going on and the pandemic, the economic, the racial, the political, the, with all this going on, um, it's really easy right now to lose your bearings, to lose your way, to let your emotions get ahead of you. You can let this happen in your personal walk with God and we can let this happen to us as a church.
[00:24:53] And, um, I want to talk to you for just a moment, a very personal thing about losing your hearing. [00:25:00] I think most of you understand this by now. I don't hear well, if you ever see me in a store and you say something, man, I don't respond. I don't, I never heard you. I don't hear well. Can I tell you coming to admit to myself that I don't hear well was one of the hardest things of my life.
[00:25:13] Can I just tell you this? I wear hearing aids. I don't like wearing hearing aids. I just know if I don't wear hearing aids. It's not good. Okay. It's hard with hearing aids to hear. Okay. And I'm not deaf, but I don't hear well. You know how I discovered I don't hear well, all right now listen carefully. I discovered I didn't hear well.
[00:25:32] I was with a group of pastors around a conference table in Las Vegas at a conference, and we're just eight of us talking around a rectangular table and I kept going to the guy next to him, what did he just say? What did he just say? You see, you know, you don't hear well when you're hearing things that aren't said, and you're not hearing things that are said, and at some point you just have to own it and go, I, I don't, I don't hear well.
[00:26:00] [00:26:00] So, so I had to come home and go through the process. And this is a long time ago. I've I'm wearing hearing aids for a long time. I'm hearing aids, you know, I'm young. I don't need to hearing aids. Yeah I do. You got to work through it. All right. Um, are you really hearing well these days? It's hard to admit. Yeah.
[00:26:21] It's hard to admit. Now remember this guy right here. Remember this guy, Verizon. Remember he just walked in. Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? To get reception because of dropped calls? And by the way, if you didn't know this, he changed companies he's with Sprint now. Now his motto was, can you pay me now?
[00:26:40] Can you pay me now? He's now he's negotiating a deal with T-Mobile. We don't know what that's going to be. Um, so can I just say about, can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? There's been a good amount of commotion going on in our country. And folks has been a good amount of commotion going on in [00:27:00] our church.
[00:27:01] And, uh, I've just been listening to this commotion and going, you know what, you know what I need to do. I need to speak crystal clear about, I need to bring clarity. I need to plead with the church to listen to me. And that's what I'm doing right now. So again, wherever you are, I'm just pleading with you.
[00:27:16] Would you just listen to me? Okay. Just calm down and listen to me. And what I want to do is because there's this commotion, this white noise is just louder than normal. I want to, I want to say as clearly as I know how, what we're about as a church. Okay. I'll just. And again, that doesn't mean everybody totally agrees with everything
[00:27:37] I'm about... that doesn't mean that it's a church that's made up of people. Okay. But if you're wondering, amidst all the noise. What does Central believe in? What, what is Central about? Just listen. Okay. Just buckle your seatbelt for just a moment. Stay, put, and listen to me and I'll tell you what we believe. Now
[00:27:55] here's the deal. I'm not going to use theological jargon, which would take me time to explain what I'm explaining. [00:28:00] That's stupid. Am I going to do that, and I'm not going to show you every passage where we get these beliefs. I don't have time, but trust me and let me just, and you can't write these down because I'm going to go really fast.
[00:28:09] I got about 20 of these. I'm going to throw at ya. But listen, just listen. Okay. I believe with you. Listen. So, you know, just listen. All right, here we go. We believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God. It's God's voice and it's relevant, incredibly relevant to our day. We believe in the Holy Trinity, the three and oneness of God that God is the father,
[00:28:33] God is the son, and God is the Spirit. We believe that God is, and that he's the sovereign creator of the world and everything in it. We believe that every human being is a bearer of the image of God and is therefore worthy of being treated with respect and dignity. The Imago Dei of God resides in every one of us.
[00:28:53] As our creator, God is the ultimate authority in each of our lives. And we are all accountable to him. [00:29:00] We believe that we are all sinners and all have rebelled against his authority over us. And we are all destined to die as a consequence. We believe that God desires reconciliation between him and us and us, between ourselves and we were created to live in harmony and peace with one another, not in animosity towards one another.
[00:29:22] We believe that Jesus voluntarily died for us paying for our sins on the cross and that through faith in him and him only can we attain eternal life. That's what we believe, um, we believe that we are saved by the goodness and grace of God, not on our own merit. There was nothing that we can do to earn the favor of God or cause him to love us more.
[00:29:42] It just isn't going to happen. We believe that salvation is a miracle and that God is in the business of doing miracles. He always has been, and he always will be. We believe that the Virgin birth was a miracle and that it actually happened as recorded in the scriptures. We believe that Jesus did miracles to help us [00:30:00] understand the power of God, the supernatural nature, this God that we follow, he was teaching us about what he's capable of.
[00:30:07] We believe in the miracle of the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead that he literally Rose from the dead he ascended and, um, that he conquered death. We believe that. And, um, we believe that God still does miracles today. We believe. We believe in prayer. God listened to our prayers and God has moved and moves through our prayers.
[00:30:29] Answered prayer is simply a miracle being manifest. Your, when you got to experience, we believe in the sanctity of human life and that life begins at conception and deserves to be protected and nurtured. We believe that marriage is a sacred commitment between one man and one woman designed by God to last a lifetime.
[00:30:53] But we also believe that we are called to love every human being and treat every person with respect regardless of who they are, what [00:31:00] they believe or what they've done. We believe that God called his church to stand up and advocate for the marginalized and the oppressed and that God demands that we uphold justice.
[00:31:10] We believe that Jesus Christ return is imminent and that he will return to receive those who have faith in him and have committed their lives to him. We believe that hell is eternal separation from the presence of God and that he desires this for no person. He has done everything necessary for our salvation, except to believe.
[00:31:29] And this we must do of our own. Folks if you have not figured this out, what I just shared with you is the fact that we are a conservative church with conservative theology. Now, why am I telling you that? Okay. Because there's three things that I'm going to spend the next few moments on that make us distinct from a lot of churches.
[00:31:48] These three things people love to say, Oh, that's not okay. You guys over you guys over there, we are passionate about, we are aggressively pursuing three things and [00:32:00] sadly, a bunch of other churches don't pursue these three things. And I want you to understand, I think they should. And we do. So let me explain them to you.
[00:32:09] And again, I'll go very, very quickly. Number one, here it is. We believe that we are called to love beyond. See, this is what we do would love to say to God, I'll only go this far with love will only go this far and we love to draw the line. And then literally what we do is we play the compass and we spin this line around us.
[00:32:28] And everyone who's like us that fits in the circle. We will love, and whoever's outside the circle. We go, they know, no, we don't have to love them. And we believe that God draws a much bigger circle around us. Why, where do we get that? When we get that from member of the love beyond series we just did John 13:34, a new commandment
[00:32:48] I give you that you love one another. As I have loved you, that you love one another. And. And by this, all men will know that you're my disciples. If you love one another, we believe that the church is [00:33:00] strong. The line that, you know, the typical church draws a line and way too tight and says, you know, you're the other.
[00:33:06] And you're out outside of the scope of our love. We don't believe that. We believe you can step across the line. Here's the second one we believe with all our heart, that God values and cherishes diversity. Folks God created diversity. No two fingerprints the same, no two eye retinas, no two snowflakes, no two known two, no two God is the God of creativity and he loves things to be diverse.
[00:33:32] If he didn't, we'd all look alike, we'd all be alike. We'd all think alike. Everybody loves the thought of diversity, but we don't love diversity of thought. Folks God does. And, uh, I want you to understand something he is going to end up in fact, okay, let me just, Hey, if you, if you want to cheat, read the book of Revelation, it'll tell you how it ends.
[00:33:59] Just skip to [00:34:00] the end. It's the last book. Just skip to the, end, and you know how it ends. Let me tell you how it's going to end. Okay. Let me and why we're so passionate about diversity. Let me tell you how it's going to end. John said, I got a peek. I got to see after this, I looked and there before me, it was a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne.
[00:34:24] And before the lamb, Oh, he's gonna they're being judged. No, no, no, no. They were wearing white robes and they were holding Palm branches in their hands and they will cry it out in a loud voice. Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the thrown into the lamb. So here's what we believe. Uh, heaven is not going to be sectional.
[00:34:45] Okay. This is the American section. This is the Republican section. This is the Republican or the Democratic women's section, or however you want to break it down. No, no, no. We're all going to be there together. If this is how it ends, this is what we're thinking. [00:35:00] What do we do today? That gets us ready for eternity.
[00:35:05] And we're passionate about this folks. If God loves diversity, we love diversity and we're going to create a diverse of a church as we can, because that's the way God made us. And we're serious about that. Here's the third. And last one, we believe that we are called to stand and contend for the powerless, the marginalized and the oppressed, and the word for that is justice.
[00:35:31] Now stay with me. Don't close your ears. Justice is about how we treat people and how we allow people to be treated. I did a count. I did this count in my Bible. I came up with 134 times. God calls us to justice, 134. Anything God's going to speak about 134 times. I suspect he cares about, I think justice matters to God and I think justice on a matter to [00:36:00] us.
[00:36:00] By the way, if you want to know how it ends, Jesus gives us a glimpse. It's called Matthew chapter 25 is there's a parable about how we separate the sheep from the goats. Okay. The ones who are gonna, you know, literally th this will be heaven and this will be hell. Okay. And you know what he says, he talks about the sh the sheep over here are the ones who care for the hungry, the thirsty, the lonely, the naked, the sick and the prison.
[00:36:26] He, in fact, he has the audacity to say this sentence, as you did it to one of the least of these, my brothers, you did it to me, and we believe God is in. You know, the image of God is within every individual and how you treat people really matters. It just matters. And folks, this is called justice and justice is about biblical justice.
[00:36:49] It's about caring for people in the name of God. It is not about chasing every fad that everyone wants to come up and call it justice. It's about being about the heart of God. [00:37:00] It's about grasping that God desires his church to care, not to condemn those who choose to care. And churches love to condemn churches who choose to care, just so you know, and we believe we're called to care.
[00:37:16] It is in caring that we are given the credibility to speak into somebody else's pain and suffering. Folks I I've just got to tell you, this is the heart in my heart as a pastor. I don't know what has happened to the church that justice sets us on edge. You hear the word justice? Oh, well, that's the church.
[00:37:35] They're talking about justice. And all of a sudden, we go, Oh, watch out for that church. Whoa, wait a minute. Who got to you? What did they do? How did they stir you up? Justice is about God. Justice is about how you treat people. And we believe God calls us to do. Folks none of this makes us liberal. What it does is it makes us faithful.
[00:37:59] And we want [00:38:00] to be faithful. And that's what sets us apart. Now I'm going to close. I get asked this question all the time right now. So do you back such and such organization, or what about those guys? You endorse those guys. What about those? You believe in what they believe? I get asked that all the time.
[00:38:16] Okay. Listen to me. Listen to me, crystal clear. We believe in one organization, one organization, the church that Jesus Christ founded. That's the one organization we care about, that's it? Okay. It's the only one he started. It's the only one he endorsed and it's the only, it's his baby. It's his idea. And we are all about building that church.
[00:38:39] It's the church is going to prevail. So I'm going to close right now with my baseball bat, got the name Jesus on it because you know what we love to do with the baseball bat that got Jesus's name on it, you know, the answer, what is it? What is it? We love to riot. [00:39:00] I try really hard not to let this fly.
[00:39:05] That would leave a mark. I'm just sure it would. Okay. We know, we love to hit Jesus with the club, him with the Jesus bat. Watch that TV like this is what Jesus wanted you to do. Go beat people up with stuff, beat him up, you know, they disagree with you and no. That's not what you're supposed to do with your Jesus bat.
[00:39:24] Let me, let me show you something. Okay. I, you know, Hey, I'm not really cool, but let me show how cool I am. Look, look at me. Look at me, go, Whoa, look at that. Yeah. Yeah. I'm incredibly talented. Um, you know how you, you know, you screw this up. Number one, you hit people with it and, you know, number two. You look down instead of looking up, I'm going to try my hardest to balance this.
[00:39:55] I'm also going to try really hard, not to hit the TV [00:40:00] and by the way, if I lose my balance with me. Oh, so, Oh man, can I have my bat back feet? Nice, please. Be nice. Thank you. That you could have. Okay. Okay. Ready? Let me show you the trick. Um, if you look down, you can't do it. If you look up and watch, watch, I'm looking up.
[00:40:22] So I'm doing, I'm just keeping my eyes on Jesus. That's all I'm doing. Just looking at Jesus right there. And you know what I'm doing when I do that is I pivot. I move. I adjust. Do you see if I keep my eyes on Jesus and I'll just be willing to move a little bit? I don't lose my, my way. Listen to me church don't club people in the name of Jesus is not what he wants us to do.
[00:40:46] He wants us to love people. And he wants us to get a message out in church. I'm just calling you, I'm asking you, would you please start telling people about Jesus, th th there's a world right now that desperately needs to understand who Jesus really is [00:41:00] and that he loves them and he cares for them. And I'm talking about the entire spectrum of diversity.
[00:41:05] You tell everyone, you know, and you, you bring, you bring your friends and we'll, we'll discover who this Jesus is. And we will keep our eyes on him and we will not lose our balance. We will pivot as we need to pivot. And we'll focus on him and he will have his way. I'm going to close in prayer. And then on our campus, Tyler's going to jump up on every one of your campuses, your campus pastor, even online your campus pastor will jump on.
[00:41:28] So let me pray. And then we'll wrap up the search. Just stay tight. Don't go anywhere, anybody. So God thank you for our time today. And a chance to just think about how to keep our balance. Got it. So easy to get flipped over right now to get lean in too far, one way or the other, and just keep our focus on you.
[00:41:43] And make, uh, make us aware of the moves we've got to make, to stay balanced, has just pivot to adjust. Uh, but God, when we, when we look to you, uh, the message is so crystal clear, the noise just goes away. And next week, as we talk about like, how do I hear your [00:42:00] voice? God, I pray that you teach us how to not be disquieted in our spirit, help us father in Jesus name.
[00:42:06] Amen. Thank you guys very much.