If you are new here, my name is Cal I'm the lead pastor here. And I want to say to all of you on behalf of all of us, welcome to central, you belong here. We are better together. You were made for more and today matters. And so I'm so glad that you're a part of this. And I just got back from a study leave, which I'll share some things with you about, but, uh, anytime that I get to come back and go straight into the leadership summit, what's happened here in the last couple of days.
[00:00:24] Did any of you attend where you there? There's two there's four there. Fantastic experience. Yeah. I plead with people. I plead with people every year, don't miss this and those who go get it and they go, I understand. And then those who don't go I'll maybe next year, I would just encourage you to be a part of this thing when it comes around, because it's really, really good.
[00:00:45] Hey, so here, here's where I want to begin today. I want to begin asking your forgiveness now immediately. You're probably thinking I'm about to confess something and that I did something bad. It's not the case. I'm going to ask your forgiveness. The message you're about to hear is going to bounce all over the.
[00:01:02] All right. This is one of the hardest messages I've ever tried to organize thoughts so that they would actually flow and make sense. And it was just really, really hard to do. And so I just need you to understand this is going to be a bit chaotic. I'm going to be here. I'm going to be there and go over there and then come back over here and it's going to go all over the place, but I plead with you to indulge me and just forgive me.
[00:01:20] Can I get like a promise that you'll do that just this one week? I promise. Thank you. Next week will be better. Okay. So when I just bounce around, you just go, he's all over. We're good. Okay. Hey, I want to begin really begin by just saying thank you to all of you for your faithfulness throughout the summer, and thank you to our worship teams and bands.
[00:01:43] And thank you to those who filled the pulpit while I was gone and I went to church pretty much every week. This summer, there is no church I'd rather go to than central. And so I was, I heard all the messages and all of that. And I'm just telling you. I was so blessed. So, so many pastors dread being gone because there's no one who's going to bring the message.
[00:02:05] That's going to keep people engaged. That is not the issue here. We have such an incredibly rich bench of communicators and man, they just absolutely killed it. They were, uh, inspirational and impactful and challenging. And man, I'm just telling you, can you just say thank you to them four. Yeah. So Kayla and Jeremy and Steve and pate, and then so good.
[00:02:28] I do feel though that before I go any further. And in fact, I want to say hi, I didn't see this. Uh, we have an online community. I don't know if you know this, but Michelle is in Minnesota and Patty is in Ohio. And so wherever you are, I'm looking at this camera because if you are on any of our campuses, I want to welcome you.
[00:02:48] I totally forgot to do this. And if you. With them wherever you are in the world. Thank you for joining us. It's a new reality. And I just want to make sure that we make sure everyone feels welcome. So with that said, uh, now back to the messages, I do feel the need to, I've got to address an issue that I think is, I don't think it would be right if I just pass by this.
[00:03:08] Um, I want to talk about the gentlemen over here too, right?
[00:03:19] I need you to understand he's shaking right now. And he's scared. I, I promise I had to plead with him to come out here. Uh, and I'm aware that we've done some harm to this little fellow the last several weeks. And, um, so on behalf of the leadership, I want you to know had I been here, uh, that never would have happened to you.
[00:03:41] And, um, I, I promise you if you'll stay with us. Okay. We'll treat you better than the dates. Okay. We're good. Okay. Now in getting him to come out here, he said, look, that's the same thing those other guys said. And then they tore me apart. And so as soon as we're done, can I leave? And I said, yeah. So he. Say goodbye.
[00:04:06] If you have no idea what I, this I'm talking about, you should come to church on the weekends. It's really fun. And you can learn all kinds of things. I don't know why we need to abuse potatoes in the name of Jesus, but apparently we do. Okay. So back to, uh, back to preaching this summer. So we did this theme that summer called the credential life.
[00:04:26] All kinds of people are saying all kinds of things about God and claiming that, know what they're talking. And you got to deal with that as you deal with that. But one of the realities of it is, is that, um, the spirit of God who dwells inside of us, the spirit of God, if he is in control of your life, certain things are going to come out.
[00:04:45] There's certain things are going to be known about you. You're going to act a certain way if you don't act that way, um, it's an indicator that what you claim to be, isn't what you really are. And so we call those the fruit of the spirit. And so we spent, uh, each week of the summer taking one of the different fruit of the spirit, which is the manifestation of the presence of God in us.
[00:05:04] And I'm telling you it was fantastic. And I think people loved it, uh, from everything I heard. I know I loved it, but a question kind of started emerging, uh, as the summer went on, like we got the S we understand the fruit of the spirit. That's awesome. We just don't understand the spirit. And so what I want to let you know, as I'm jumping all over the place, is that in September, um, we're going to do a series a five week series on the holy spirit.
[00:05:30] Okay. We're not the fruit of the spirit, the holy spirit. We're going to talk about the Trinity and we're going to talk about the, who, what, why. Of the spirit of God. And I'm excited for that. I think it's going to be an incredibly powerful series. I just want to bring you in on that so that you can kind of anticipate it.
[00:05:47] All right now again, I'm bouncing all over. I know I got it. So let's get to the message for today. All right. Now, if you were a typical kid, you play the game when you were growing up. In fact, it's not, you still play it, adults play it, but you maybe had never known what it was called is called the telephone game.
[00:06:04] And the telephone game is simply when you get like in a circle and say up to 12 people or whatever. And the first person in the, in the circle says something in the ear of the second person, something kind of hard to follow, but he says something. And then the second person listens as best they can. And then they try their hardest to replicate what they heard to the third to the fourth.
[00:06:23] And it goes around and goes around. And the way the game is played, you get to the 12th and last person. And then they say what they actually heard. And then the first person who started the chain. So this is what I said. And then you crack up laughing because it's so far from what they actually said. I want to give you a simple illustration of this.
[00:06:40] And again, there's a point to this. I want to give you a simple illustration. That I think is honestly fictitious, but it gives you the idea. It was a command that a Colonel gave and it went through the ranks. And I'll explain that in just a second, but it went, you know, as it got passed down, he was giving a command through people to get to the privates, to do something.
[00:07:01] And in fact, what I'm going to do is I'm going to show you so you can follow what he actually said. And then I'm going to show you what was actually told to the privates. All right. So this is the command from the kernel tomorrow evening at approximately 2000 hours. Haley's comment will be visible in the area and event, which occurs only once every 75 years have them in fall out in the battalion area in fatigues.
[00:07:28] And I will explain this rare phenomenon to them. In case of rain, we will not be able to see anything so assemble the men in the theater. And I will show them films of it and anybody not get this pretty simple communication. Right? So the executive officer goes to, um, his, uh, uh, company commander. He says, this is what the Colonel said.
[00:07:52] The company commander goes to a Lieutenant, says, Hey. Colonel said, and the commander goes to, uh, the Lieutenant goes to a Sergeant, this is what the Colonel said. And then the Sergeant goes to the people, uh, to the troops, to the privates and he delivers the command of the Colonel. And this is what they were actually told.
[00:08:11] And now you should see the difference, right? When it rains tomorrow at 2000 hours, the phenomenal 75 year old general Hayden. Accompanied by the Colonel will drive his comment through the battalion theater in his fatigues. Okay. So that's pretty far off, right? Here's the formula that you've got to understand.
[00:08:34] This happens all the time. All right. Time plus distance plus people equals confusion. Can you say that with me? Say it out loud time. Plus distance plus people. Confusion confusing happens when time starts to pass and distance starts to build and people get involved. And pretty soon, what was so clear in the beginning becomes muddled in the end and people going.
[00:09:03] I have no idea what he said. I have no idea now again, why are we talking about this? Stay with me. So, um, I just, uh, got back from a study. Uh, I'm bouncing. All right. Just got back from a study leave and people go, well, why, why, why, why study leaves here? Here? I can spend a long time. They just say it simply this, um, when pastors get messed up, churches get messed up.
[00:09:28] When churches get messed up, Jesus takes the hit. It's that simple. So churches that care about this, uh, make sure that their staff stays emotionally and spiritually healthy. And so typically a church that's a good church will give, uh, Uh, uh, six months, seven months, every seven years called the sabbatical every seven years, get away and get some perspective.
[00:09:51] And so, um, I don't like to be gone seven months in any given year. Cause I think you lose touch and I don't think it's ever good for a senior pastor to lose touch of a church. So I just, from the very beginning, and again, I've been here 35 years. I've been the lead pastor, the shirts for the last 22 years or 23 years, whatever it is, I don't know.
[00:10:06] And, um, for the very beginning we said, I just said, I don't want to be gone in six. And so we worked it out. So every summer, uh, I can take vacation and take leave. And so June and July, I'm gone. And then I come back and that's kind of how we do it. All right. And so people, when I get back, they said, well, what did you do?
[00:10:23] Did you just do a lot of fishing? I wonder if sure. You know, I didn't do a lot of fishing. What happens on a stage? Lisa and I, my wife, we travel a lot. We, we, we go and, uh, we both have ministry commitments. And so we do those and we meet people and we hang out. We do all that. And that's what we did on this particular study leave though.
[00:10:42] I did something that I've never done before. Um, I read, I read, I studied, like I've never studied on a study lead before, in fact. And I just to give you a perspective, I don't think anything worried about this, but I read 42 books in the last 60 days. I read, like I have never read in my life. Um, because I need to understand some things and I read widely, it's not all the same category and I'll explain part of what I read in just a moment, but I just did a lot of reading.
[00:11:09] All right. And, um, and I listened to sermons here and elsewhere, and I listened to podcasts and I studied and I, and I did a lot of time with God trying to figure some things out. And so that's why the oh, and something else I did, which I happened to be with you guys on, um, I died a very slow agonizing, painful death.
[00:11:31] With the Phoenix suns. That was brutal. Can I get an amen? Can I get a witness? Oh, that was harsh. Anyway, I thought it was really interesting. Caleb got up and said, Hey, we're going to pray that they're going to sweep him for, remember that. Didn't happen. Okay. What do you actually do on a study lead now?
[00:11:50] Again, this is important because I'm going to explain a bigger picture in just a moment. I was thinking about trying to explain to people, obviously you rest, it's just, you break the routine. So the rest is a given. All right. It's just a given, but I was thinking there's like four buckets that I could explain, like what you do.
[00:12:05] And these happened to be sequential. They go in order, they tend to go in this order. So the first bucket is that I just, I stopped doing. And I think about. I stopped doing it. And I call it reflection. I reflect, reflect is about the present tense reflect is what's happening right now. And I look around at what condition am I in?
[00:12:27] What condition is my heart in? What? How's my walk with God? How how's the church? How's my leadership. Doing all of those. It's this, this moment in time where you just own what it is, what I've discovered is if you never stop going, you can easily forget where you are. If you don't stop doing you're easily going to forget why you're doing.
[00:12:47] It's really interesting when you do stop and you stare at it for awhile, you start to see things you'd never saw when you were in the midst of the doing. I saw a reflect that's bucket. Number one, bucket number two, and bucket number one has everything to do with the present bucket. Number two is I remember, I remember what I remember what I remember, and this is about the past.
[00:13:06] Why did I get here? Why did I, why did I become a believer in Jesus? Why did I become a pastor? What did I become a part of central Christian Church? Why did I, why did I, how did I, how do you ask all those? You remember how you got here? Like, what were the decisions that got me here? Good and bad. Like what, whatever problem, what, what did I do?
[00:13:27] So you reflect and then you remember, and the th the third bucket I would call. Reset is when you make a decision that you've got to stop doing some things you were doing, you got started doing some things you weren't doing. We're setting is always about the future. So reflections about the president remembers about the past three settings about the future.
[00:13:44] What's going to be different. What am I going to do as I kind of reboot? And then the fourth bucket is to recommit to recommit is to say, you know what? That matters is my heart's still here. Yes it is. Am I still passionate? Yes, I am. Do you want to say yes. And then you, you kind of renew your, your, you refresh that commitment.
[00:14:06] So again, you might be going, why, why are we talking about this? Here's uh, what I know is that in the last year, uh, it's been crazy, but in a lot of people have come to central in the last year. And, uh, some of you have come in the last two months and you're like, you have no idea who I am and, but you've been here.
[00:14:26] And as you come into the central kind of found. We do things a certain way, but maybe nobody ever explained to you why we do that? Or how did we start doing that? What's the point of doing that? And so you, you maybe have been here and you've been asking yourself all kinds of questions. Like, I don't understand.
[00:14:41] I, I don't, I like it, but I don't get it. And, and that might be some of you, others of you have come here for a long, long time. And again, one of the things amazing, we have people on our staff. 30 plus years, I've been here 35 years. Isn't this is not a church that just turns over a bunch of, we've got a lot of people who've been here a long time, but here here's the downside of staying somewhere a long time, you can do something so long, you forgot why you started doing it.
[00:15:08] And you just know it's what we do, but I don't. I forgot why we do it. So on my study leave, as I was thinking about what I want to talk about, when I come back the first week back, I thought, you know what I want to do? Exactly the same thing for the church that I've done, the work I've done in my own heart, through the four buckets.
[00:15:28] Now I'm going to tell you, I want to just talk to you about reflecting and remembering and resetting and recommitting, but I'm just want to walk with you, but the first two are going to be the hardest to, to get your brain around. So if you'll allow me, let me try to illustrate the first two. Ha so how's it go in church?
[00:15:45] Let me, let me explain it. I want to tell you about something. I want to remind you of something that happened 10 years ago. Now we're not in the remembering, but we're. I want to use something that happened 10 years ago to explain something that's happening today. See, 10 years ago, this summer, 10 years ago, a horrific tornado rip through Joplin, Missouri.
[00:16:05] Do you remember? You recall this? Anyone? Alright. Joplin, Missouri means something to me because I've spent a lot of time in Joplin because a Bible college soda I've done stuff with, and this tornado that ripped through there in may of 2011, uh, ripped, uh, about a mile wide path, about 13 miles long. And it just devastated.
[00:16:26] Uh, this is a picture of this being your neighborhood. This is your street. This was their street, this, this hospital you're going to see. I know exactly where this house I drive by this hospital. I know, I know that building I've been in, I have met people and there's only service. I remember to say this. I met people when I've been in Joppa.
[00:16:49] People from archers asked me to visit people inside that hospital. I've done that. All right. And then I want you to see this picture and this picture is important to me that you just take it in, just take it. And just try to grasp. All right, no, again, you might be wondering, well, why are we talking about tornadoes a decade ago?
[00:17:10] Stay with me. All right. I am not a meteorologist by any means, but I can tell you I can make some observations about tornadoes. So I sat down and I made eight observations. I'm going to call them simple truths about tornadoes. Okay. Don't write your doctoral thesis on this because. But let me just say, Hey, here's the simple truths.
[00:17:29] There's more, I'm just going to limit them to eight. Number one, you should stay as far away from one as possible. Can I get an amen? Can I get a witness? Yeah, usually stay away. Okay. Now they don't tend to do good things. Number two, except that it's not always possible to stay away from tornadoes. If you could avoid a tornado, everyone would avoid a tornado.
[00:17:53] You just got to accept the fact that some tornadoes can't be. Uh, third observation, truth, uh, tornadoes find you more than you find them. You might go searching for it, but guess what? They they're coming your direction. It's going to find you, um, fourth truth tornadoes are notoriously unpredictable, notoriously, unpredictable, fifth truth, tornadoes devastate, everything considered normal.
[00:18:16] So whatever was after a tornado is no more. It got wiped out and devastated. All right. Um, so yeah. Uh, assume confusion to prevail in the midst of a tornado. Of course, cows are flying by, uh, it's not going to be calm and rational and you know, saying it's going to be craziness. All right. Just assume craziness.
[00:18:38] Um, observation seven Cubans don't bounce back from tornadoes quickly or easily. If that was your house that got wiped out, you're not just tomorrow going to be fine. Uh, a tornado is not a bad thing. It's not just, you know, I will allow you, I had this crazy thing, but everything's cool. I just got to get over it in my head.
[00:18:57] No, it's it goes deeper than that. And the eighth one is a little bit harder to get what I'm trying to say. So work with me on this. After a tornado hits, it's best to build, not to rebuild. Now I want to go back to that picture. Uh, the fourth picture. I want you to stare at this and I want you to try to imagine that your task is, I want to put back here.
[00:19:18] What was once. With what I now have. That would be incredibly hard. You see, at some point you have to say that tornado hit. And I just think I had to clear out the rebel and I need to start over. I need to build you. See if you spend all your effort rebuilding, you're trying to put two by fours together were shattered and splintered and sent all over the place.
[00:19:40] And you're never gonna to get back what you have. If you rebuild your looking backwards, if you build, you can be creative and you can think ahead and you can go, you know what? I always want it. And you realize that, uh, this destruction can also open up great possibilities for the future. Now, why am I talking about tornadoes a decade ago?
[00:19:57] I don't know if you've noticed this, but a tornado has written through our country. Technically. Yes. If you are world, but let's just talk about our country and then lets just talk about our neighborhoods and then let's just talk about our church. Oh, tornado has ripped through this and uh, I would say this it's come close.
[00:20:15] It's affected everybody it's affected some more intensely than others. It came closer to you than maybe others. Everybody is affected by it though. No, there are no, there's no exceptions. Of course, I'm talking about Corona virus pandemic, and it's just devastated. It has disrupted everything, our homes, our routines, our health, our careers, our finances, our relationships.
[00:20:41] Just disrupted our lives. It's left this incredible path of destruction in its wake. And just when you thought it was over that unpredictable nature of tornadoes, just kind of spun around and now it's coming back. So now we're struggling with this variant D like, what's that going to mean? I don't know.
[00:21:02] It's a tornado. I don't control it. You don't control it just does what it's going to do. It's the nature of tornadoes. And the problem is, is that in the midst of it, it's like, I don't like this. I want it to settle down. I want it to be normal. I want it to be saying, but guess what? It's not seen because there's cows flying by and you go, where did my trampoline go?
[00:21:21] Your trampoline is four doors down, upside down in your neighbor's pool. Where did the swingset come from? Two blocks. Deliver, you know, by virtue of this tornado folks, this is the story of what's happening in our lives right now. And how are we doing? Let's just be honest. Let's call it out. We are facing a mental health crisis in our country.
[00:21:48] That's what's happening. We are facing a mental health crisis in our country and we're not handling it well. And all kinds of things are happening. In fact, I've got this thing I've been paying attention to, uh, you know, how, when a soldier goes to war and they hear bombs going off and bullets going off, and then they come home and all of a sudden the car backfires and they hit the floor, we call that post-traumatic stress disorder.
[00:22:15] After you've gone through something really traumatic, your brain doesn't know how to unwind real quickly. How about this idea? Post pandemic stress disorder. Cause I'll tell you what I'm watching in our mental health crisis. I'm watching people do things that are 100% out of their character and totally unpredictable.
[00:22:32] I'm watching men leave their wives. I'm watching wives, leave their husbands. I'm watching people leave their careers. I'm watching people leave church. I'm watching people do stuff you go. I never would have predicted that. And while you might want to blame everything else, the truth of the matter of stuff's going on inside of us.
[00:22:51] And we're stressed to the max. We are overwhelmed and I think we need to talk about it. So in my bouncing all over the place, I'm going to tell you what we're going to do next week. We're going to start a series, um, because I've discovered something. Now the series that we're going to start, it's going to talk about mental health, but here's the deal.
[00:23:13] Here's what I know. I'm going to make a general overarching. The degree that you have been in community and in relationship, community and relationship with others. And more importantly with God determines how you handle this pendant. What, what am I saying? I'm saying that the less community you have around you and the less relationship you have with God, the harder you're going to have surviving the effect of this tornado.
[00:23:46] So, what we're going to do is we're going to go through a series in which I want to remind you of something really, really important. And the series is called, uh, through the valley. Your not alone. Maybe, because he was going to happen is, is if you break relationship with God and you break relationships with community, which has what's happened to a lot of people, you're going to find yourself lonely and isolated, isolated, and lonely.
[00:24:10] And you know what happens when you're isolated and lonely, you get depressed. And you know what happens when you get depressed, bad things, all kinds of bad things. I want to do a series in which I can help. You just remember the sweetness of God, the goodness of God, the presence of others in your life.
[00:24:27] You don't have to do this. You might be choosing to, but you don't have to. It was not the plan of God. I'm going to plead with you to get back in community. So that's, that's a reflection on what's happening and what we're going to do about it. Now, let me spend a moment on. Remember, remember, is, would you, why did I do this?
[00:24:50] What was the point of church? Why did, why don't we do church? It's been so long. Why do we even do this? What's the plan. What's the mission. I want to remind you of two things. Jesus has called us all to be. I'll just very, very quickly. He's called you. Number one, to be his witness. What does that mean?
[00:25:04] You're going to be a witness. What does that to give a testimony? You don't, you're not a defense. You're not a prosecuting attorney in a defense attorney. You're just a witness. I need to tell people what I know I've got to. And we're called to this. Let me remind you of this acts. One eight says you will receive power when the holy spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses.
[00:25:24] And he starts listing places that you're to go testify, where to be a witness of who God is. That's part of the mission. The other thing we're to be as an ambassador, would it be an embed? Was it an ambassador? An ambassador is somebody from one place who represents a sovereign in another place. So we're to represent kingdom that's different than the world in which we all live, where to be as ambassadors.
[00:25:53] Now, listen very carefully to this. This is so important. Sacrament is five, 18 to 20. Now all of this is from God who reconciled us to himself through. And gave us the ministry of reconciliation that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting Minson mint sins against them. And he has committed to us the ministry of a message of reconciliation.
[00:26:17] We are therefore Christ's ambassadors as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. You know, what an ambassador does he reconciles? You know what reconciling people means? It means bringing healing. It means bringing people back. It means putting people back in relationship, you know what we're called to do right now, quit blowing the thing up.
[00:26:44] Quit exacerbating the damage. We're here to be a healing agent. You go, man, that sounds cool, man. I want to be a witness. I want to, I want to be an ambassador. I want to help heal. Not. Here you go. Why do I have to do to do that? Spelled it out? And he spelled it out so clearly. And I'm going to read to you.
[00:27:03] And I always say, this is one of the least read verse in the Bible. This is one of the verses that most churches will put on the table. And I, it breaks my heart and I know why that's true. And I'll explain why it's true in just a moment, but how am I supposed to be an ambassador? How am I supposed to be a witness?
[00:27:22] Jesus says, I'll tell you what you're going to. Have you been around this church? You've heard this, but he said something so powerful. He said in Luke 9 23, he said to them all, whoever wants to be by disciple. You want to be one of mine. You know, if you're a follower of mine, you must not. You should not.
[00:27:39] You, you might consider, you know, if, if it's not too much to ask, you might lean toward, you must deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow me through stipulate. Got to humble yourself. You got to get over yourself. It can't be about you. If it's about you. It's not about Jesus. She says, can't be about me.
[00:27:59] If it's about you. If you want to be one of mine, you're going to have to get over yourself. You live in a world. That's telling you, you should never get over yourself. You are. That matters. Jesus has that's. That's not true. It's not true. But we have swallowed that hook, line and sinker. You got gotta deny yourself and you got dive at yourself.
[00:28:20] And you got to follow him. Jesus said, that's what it's going to take. Then he said something else, which is really bothersome. He said this for whoever wants to save their life will lose it. You go, I'm not giving up my life for this. He said, well, that's your choice. You're going to lose it. But whoever loses their life for me will save it.
[00:28:39] Well, what good is it for someone to gain the whole world and yet lose or forfeit theirs? Well, if you got everything, this will have the offer, but it costs you, you return. It just goes what's that worth? I don't know about you. When I hear this, I questions go through my mind questions. Number one, did Jesus know what he was asking?
[00:29:00] He didn't know what he was saying. Did Jesus understand? Or did he just fly off one day and just said, you know what? I'm ticked off at you guys. This is what it's going to cost. Was this measured in reason? And action. Question number two I've got is, um, are these stipulations negotiable? Can I think two out of three, one out of three?
[00:29:22] Can I be a disciple with none of them? I mean, do I have to humble myself? Really? Do I really have to get over myself to be a follower of yours? Do I really have to die to myself? Come on. Do I really have to follow you to be your disciple? And geez, I don't know. What do you think? Were they negotiable?
[00:29:40] Third question. I've got. Is what Jesus said true is what he said, true. That you can spend your entire day air, life, gaining the world only to lose it. All you won the game. It's like monopoly, man. You want, you just annihilate it. Everybody. You're more wealthy than anybody. And then game over and it's all going to go into a box and be put away as will you how's will you.
[00:30:12] Is it true? Can I explain to you what's wrong with Christianity these days? I feel bold to say this too few. Want to say what Paul said too few. Want to walk where Paul walked? Can I tell you what he said? And please listen carefully. Paul Paul said this in Galatians 2 21, 21. He said I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live.
[00:30:41] These are the I'm still alive, but I, that life I allow live, I live by faith in the son of God. Why? Because he died for me and loved me and gave his life for me. I don't want to die for Christ. Are you crazy? Can I, can I say something, please listen to this. This is the problem to the degree that what Jesus asks you to do, humble yourself, die to yourself, follow him to the degree that that doesn't appeal to you or me.
[00:31:09] Jesus doesn't appeal to you. And guys, if you hear me, you just got to think about that to the degree you I'm not doing that. She just goes, I know you're not a follower. You're not following. I got it, but I am nigga. No, you're not because you didn't do what I asked you to do. I don't want to be an ambassador.
[00:31:32] I don't want to be a witness. I don't want to fall. I don't. Okay. Don't it doesn't appeal to you. This is.
[00:31:40] The point, if it does, what if it does appeal for you? There's another passage. I I'm going to read one more. I, I read this passage. I don't know what, I don't know how to explain, you know, that feeling you get when this like a sweet scent crosses your. Like when, like, there's that sweet smell of rain in the, in the air and you just, I love that.
[00:32:04] I love that. And, and all of a sudden, you just kind of, it makes you feel good, man. I like that. You know, can you imagine like a sail that's just been laying there, limp and lifeless and all of a sudden this breeze just kind of catches up in the sail and the boat rustles, and it just kind of goes, I'm coming alive.
[00:32:21] I want to read you a verse that makes me come alive. It's related to all of this it's Philippians two, three, and four, and it says this do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, rather in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of others.
[00:32:45] You go that's impossible. There is nobody who embodies that. There is nobody who has done that. There is nobody who has ever lived and put somebody else or everybody else ahead of them. And I want to go. Yeah, you're right. That's crazy hard. Except there is someone, his name is Jesus and that's exactly what he did.
[00:33:06] He put your needs above his needs, my needs above his knee. And put his humility aside, suffered the humiliation of a cross goes. That's what it is, man. That's how it works. Okay. And you know, we talked about a dream that Martin Luther king Jr. Had a beautiful dream. I love it. I love it. But I'm telling you Jesus, how to better dream a bigger.
[00:33:34] Would you just dream the dream that Jesus, I mean, just for a moment, just go there with me. Just use your imagination. Just go there. What if, what if a church a gathering a community of people? What are the community people took? What Jesus said to heart and said, I know it's hard. I know I'm going to fail more than I'm going to succeed.
[00:33:53] I know that I've got a long way to go, but I'm going to try, I'm going to try every day. I'm going to try, I'm going to commit to try my best. I'm going to put myself at the back. I'm not going to think about me. I'm going to in humility, consider others as more important. I'm going to come to church, not to get, I'm going to come to church.
[00:34:12] I'm gonna figure out how to give I'm going to figure out how to take my life and not worry about me and use my one and only life to worry about somebody else. I'm going to not choose a church based on like, you know, like a cruise ship. Like what's the shows like what's the program? Like what do I, what?
[00:34:27] What's the benefit to my family? I'm going to choose a church in terms of how I can give my best for something far greater than anything that would be about being alone. No, I dream about this and I'm just telling you, this is this, it lights me up. What would happen if a church existed, where people came to church, not to give, but to actually get them to talk about money, certainly money, but so much more.
[00:34:53] When you came in, you, it was, you were on the lookout for needs to me. You, you came and you. Oh, you heard about that single mom or that whole group of single moms who are struggling to get by, but you went to a church that said, you know what, we're going to do everything we can do to help them. That, that woman who's carrying that baby.
[00:35:10] Who's everything inside her says, I've got to terminate this pregnancy because I'm so alone. I'm so afraid. But you went to a church where people said, you know what, we're going to care. We're going to come around and come live with us. That, that family, that didn't have enough food, but you went to a church where they said we're on the lookout for people who need.
[00:35:25] That guy that lost his job. That's so discouraged, you know, Hey, I'll, I'll, I'll walk with you. We'll surround you. We'll carry you and then we'll help you. And I can just go on and on. What would it look like if you went to a church that was not first and foremost about politics, that was not first and foremost about a social agenda, but was committed to a principle of loving beyond themselves.
[00:35:52] Loving beyond themselves, who said, I don't care. What color your skin is? It makes no difference here. We're all created in the image of God. It is not an issue, not an issue, period. I don't care what re what political platinum carrier or pub. I don't care if you're Democrat, we don't serve that agenda. We serve a kingdom agenda and it's much greater than that agenda.
[00:36:13] And that is not going to separate. Because we are in a community of people that are committed to something bigger and better. And I don't know about you, but I get passionate about this. Cause I think this is the opportunity. Here's what I can tell you that I know for sure that when times are really, really tough, it's the moment church has the opportunity to say not here.
[00:36:36] Not us, not now, not here, not us, not now because we are. To serve a different king and we have a different agenda. I'm so out of time you got two more buckets. I said the first two would take long, stay with me bucket number three, the reset button bucket. What, what do you got to do? What do you gotta stop doing?
[00:36:56] What you got to start doing? AR Bernard at the leadership summit said this statement. If you change what you should continue, you'll lose your significance. If you continue what you should change, you'll lose your relevance. You see, we're going to build a new church. We're not rebuilding, we're building we're, we're constructing something, but, but there's something I can tell you that we just got to acknowledge that got damaged.
[00:37:23] And I want to tell you I'm church. I want to call you into something. We have broken community with one another through this pandemic. We didn't want it to happen. We did everything. We knew how to keep it from happening, but a tornado blew through and you know, cows were in the wind. We, uh, the majority of our life groups got decimated in the tornado.
[00:37:45] What we have before the tornado we don't have now, which means a whole bunch of people who are doing life together are no longer doing life together. We've got to fix that. So I'm going to call you back to community. Um, we have a lot of people in our worship services, obviously, but there's a lot of people who they're they're they're they've just, uh, stopped.
[00:38:05] And we've got to acknowledge that and, uh, we've made it very convenient for you not to show up in community. I, I love our online deal and again, uh, wherever you are in the world, but you know, it's tragic to me as people that live in this neighborhood are not sitting in this building. They're watching it on that screen and that not be it just.
[00:38:26] Hebrews 10 24 says this, let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us, let's not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of some can I just point out something going to church is a habit. It's one of the best habits you'll ever form, but also not going to church is a habit and your habits affect your family.
[00:38:45] Because if you stop coming to church, you're stopping your kids from being exposed to the truth. And what would you give when they become. To get the foundation that you never gave them because it was too hard to get up and go to church guys. I'm calling you back to community. We've got to reset this one now again, there's a lot more I can say about that.
[00:39:04] I don't have time last recommit recommit. So I just need to ask you, do you believe in the church, do you still believe in the church? I want to say this to you, the church, just so you know, this pandemic is not the churches first. The church survived, the Spanish flu, the church survived, the bubonic plague, the black death.
[00:39:27] It survived persecution. It's survived. The church has been here. The question is, is do you believe it's worth your best in the days to come not what's behind, but what's ahead. Is it worth your best or do you believe as passe and it's lost its touch and. See, I'm going to tell you something. You got to understand this when the world is at its worst.
[00:39:48] The church is often at its best. Not always, but often when the church is at its worst. When the world is at its worst, the church is at its best. Tell you why you don't want to bet against the church. I want to tell you why it's a, it's a bit. You don't want to make two reasons. All right. Number one, the church is the only thing Jesus Christ started on earth.
[00:40:12] It's the only thing he founded. It's the only institution he thought worth putting his name on that's it don't bet against it. It's his preference. Number two, Jesus Christ himself said don't bet against it. Remember this passage, Matthew 16, 18. And I tell you that you are Peter. And on this rock, I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
[00:40:36] Don't bet against the church. You're going to lose Galatians six, nine says just don't give up. Just don't give up, plow through it'll it'll make it now. I got to close. So when I go on my study leave, I literally, I just try to, I try to stop doing all this things we talked about, but I try to hear from God, I try hard and I don't ever hear an audible voice.
[00:41:07] But I go, God, impress upon my heart. What should we do? What, what comes next? What's water the commands. And, um, often I come back and I'll have this impression of the press of God on my heart. I go, guys, I know we've never really thought about this, but I cannot get this off my mind. And I'll take the church in a new direction.
[00:41:26] And people, something decided, where are we going? What's next? What's the vision. The next mountain. I don't have that. I got three words that I believe came from God, crystal clear, not in an audible voice, but in an impression pressing on my heart. Three words. In fact, I named the sermon, these three words, you haven't seen the name of the sermon, but I know what I've been trying to say.
[00:41:48] This entire message. I've been trying to say three words that I believe God told me to tell you, stay the course, stay the course. What does that mean? That whole loop 9 23 teaching people to get past himself dreaming about a different kind of church that wasn't about people just looking for what they got, but an outlet in which they could give stay the course.
[00:42:17] It's not new folks. That's what we've always been about as what built center Christian Church stay course. So I want to close, I want to ask you some questions. Three questions. Number one. Do you still believe in God? Oh, I know a tornado blew through. I know that. And yeah. Uh, all hell cut loose. I got it. I was there.
[00:42:44] I am. By the way, the tornado in Joplin, that was minutes. This has been a year and a half. I know it's hard. Do you still believe in God? I need you to know church. I do. I do. I still believe in God. Second question I want to ask is you still believe in his church, the power, the purpose, the potential. Do you still believe?
[00:43:10] Cause I got to tell you, I do. I do to the core who I am. I do. And a church like Philippians two, lived out with people, putting other people first. I believe in that. I'll give my life to that. And the third question. Are you willing to recommit yourself to a new season, re recommend resign? I am and I'm back and I'm glad to be here.
[00:43:36] Now, last thing I'm going to do is I'm going to tell you the big idea of this message. I'm not said at once five minutes close with this thought, all right, here, it is big idea. When on a mission, never let the distractions overshot. The directions you see, we were given really clear directions as to what to do as a church.
[00:43:59] We were given really clear that, that, that, that never, never got fuzzy. It was really clear. Just could not have been clearer what he asked, but the tornado created a huge distraction and, and, and yeah. And all kinds of stuff we've gotten upset about. So many things that'd be it's so distract. So. Easy to take our eyes off the directions don't ever let the distractions overshadow the directions.
[00:44:28] Folks. We know what we're supposed to do. It's crystal clear. Let's just go do it. It's become that kind of church. Let me pray. So father, I do pray that you would bless the intention of which I've tried to pour my heart into this. God, I pray that people get it. And go dream with me about what it could be.
[00:44:49] It's not my dream. I didn't originate it. You did. And it got, I can see it. It's just hard as anything. I know how to do. I fail at it all the time, putting myself ahead of others and thinking more about myself than I should. I get all that I fail, but God doesn't take away. What I know to be the best thing for my life and what I know to be the best thing for this church's life.
[00:45:13] And what is this church assist these people? This is us. This is our community. God bring us back together. Again, heal the wounds. God help us to be agents of reconciliation healing broken related. Got to pray for this. I dream about this and I can passionate, uh, to pursue it. God may I be joined with pinning others, and the best days are going to come, not from rebuilding the past, but creating a new future that starts today.
[00:45:47] Help us father in Jesus name. We pray. Amen. Thank you guys very much. .