Financial pressure is your deal. You’re going, “Whoa, financially, I don’t know what to do.” A lot of people these days are running around thinking that they’re me-made instead of God-made. If you think you’re me-made instead of God-made, if you think you have your stuff and it’s not God’s stuff, then I challenge you to do this, this, and this. Then you’ll see that there’s a big difference between your needs and your greeds. Then you’ll see that you shouldn’t get into impulse buying, or purchasing things just to impress others. You’ll see you’re to budget your money, to spend some, to save some, and to give some. You’ll have a proper perspective on your finances. You’ll discover you’re a manager, not an owner. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will infiltrate your financial realm and stress will subside.
Maybe occupational stress is your deal. Maybe you’re saying, “Ed, I work for someone, and their jerk quotient is up to here.” You know what? Life is full of jerks, that’s just part of it. And you can pray about this jerk, and once you pray, you won’t call him a jerk, or her a jerk, any more. God Will Change Your Spirit about the person. You’ll see that this person matters to God. You’ll see ultimately that you’re not working for this person, you’re working for the Lord. You’ll discover that the market place, your work, can become an act of worship before God. You can see that the way you handle this stress from this person influences others around you. God will massage it out through prayer, through thought, through living. He’ll be glorified, the stress will subside, and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will envelop your career. That’s what I’m talking about.
New Ed: Throwback. A brand new series that we’re doing that I’m very, very excited about. We are going back in the archives 25 years ago when I first started preaching. You might be going, Ed Young, why are you doing that? Well, basically you can’t understand me today unless you look back and see where I’ve come from. See, back in the day I began to preach and we’re gonna see some of the first messages I ever, ever delivered. So to understand anyone’s life you’ve gotta look back in the past. It helps you in the present and also I believe it will inspire us to take it to the next level in the future. These messages are timeless because they’re from the Word of God, but I think you’ll get a big kick out of it. And during these messages I’m going to narrate and tell you some things. You’ll see some pop-ups on the screen that I think will give you some fun facts about the history of my life and the history of what God has done at Fellowship Church. So sit back, relax, and let’s throwback. Let’s go old school and let’s enjoy ourselves. We will go right now into the worship service of Second Baptist Church Houston back in 1987! Watch this!
The service was very, very structured, very, very organized, almost if you coughed it had to be in the bulletin, in the worship guide. You can see just how it was orchestrated with all of a sudden the choir stops their song, they’re seated, and I go right up. And you had to do certain things so I started with reading the Scripture.
Old Ed: Turn with me if you would in your Bibles to the book of John. John, chapter 10, we will read verses 9 and 10.
New Ed: I get nervous every time I speak. I was extremely nervous at this juncture because it was the first time I’d ever spoken. Second Baptist Houston was the most attended church in America.
Old Ed: John 10:9-10. “I am the door. If anyone enters through me he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal, to kill, and destroy. I came that they might have life and might have it abundantly.”
For some it could be greed. For some, gossip. For others, lust. But the sin that so easily entangles us is like this robe, it easily trips us up. The Bible says to throw it off, take off your warm-ups and get down to your lightweight running gear. Then and only then will you understand the freedom in the Christian life. So take a trip to the Hall of Faith. Get rid of your warm-ups. And see the word there, “perseverance”? Perseverance, and I love this word, and I’m going to get you to pronounce this word…perseverance in the Coinea Greek and I’ll give this to you, is pronounced “Hupomones”. Say it with me, “Hupomones”. One more time, “Hupomones”.
So you want, and I want “hupomones”, that means endurance.
This morning, as our special guest, we have someone who is a world-class tri-athlete here. His name is Chris Gunnerson and due to time, I’ll just jump down here. His name is Chris Gunnerson and Chris has run the Hawaiian Iron-man twice. There are very few human beings in the world who have done that and I’m going to talk to Chris very briefly about, what do you think? Endurance. This man here pronounced the Greek! I like that! (Laughter). Say that for me one time…hupomones. There you go. Very good. So, Chris, stand up. Let’s welcome Chris Gunnerson. (Applause). Now Chris, first of all, explain to us what’s involved over there is it in Kona? Explain to us what’s involved.
The second was that we are to make time for what matters the most is to make the most of the mundane. You see, life is lived more on the planes of the mundane than on the mountain tops of majesty. Every average, normal day, is made up of this the mundane stuff. It separates people who make the most with their time from those who don’t. And here is a secret. If we spend time with the Lord Jesus Christ and we give Him honor and praise regularly, the Bible says that He has a way of multiplying our time. We can make the most of the mundane moments.
U. S. News and World Report says the average American during his lifetime will spend six years eating, five years waiting in line, four years unsuccessfully returning phone calls, two years looking for misplaced objects, one year doing housework and eight months opening junk mail. Those are mundane moments, aren’t they? If we are going to multiply our time, and most of us want to do that, we have got to say, “OK, God, I want to connect with You because You are the author of time. You have given me 1,440 minutes in this day, 168 hours a week. You have mentioned the word time 771 times in Your Word. It must be important.” Time is the most valuable commodity we have. It is bought, it is sold, it is traded. We have got to use it the way God wants us to use it. Many of us have a tough time with time because we are not giving God His time. The Bible says in Proverbs 17:24, “An intelligent person aims at wise action….” Aims means to target something and the great thing about being a Christian is, our targets are already set forth for us in the Bible. We don’t have to debate and worry about what our priorities should be. First, the Bible says to target a relationship with Christ, pursue that. We have many here who know Christ personally and that is great. Some here are seeking and that is great. Make sure you settle this issue.
The second target the Bible talks about is our relationship with our family and friends. On Easter I am beginning a six week series on the family and I challenge you to be here for the next six weeks. I am going to talk about the family like I have never talked about it before. This is especially relevant for the singles and the single parent families here. So don’t miss this series on the priority of family.
Well, what is the process of baptism? Baptism should occur only after someone is old enough and mature enough to make a faith commitment. Look at all the baptisms in the Bible, every one of them. They all occurred after someone had made this commitment. Then they were baptized. Baptism does not make a person a Christian. But it should occur on the heels of our choice to know Jesus Christ personally.
Now I know that many of you were baptized as infants and that is good. My wife was in the Lutheran church. If you were baptized as an infant, I challenge you based on scripture to be rebaptized because now you are old enough to make a mature faith decision. There was no way that you understood as an infant the implications of faith in Christ. Your parents had the desire for you to be a Christ follower. This baptism will be a fulfillment of their whole deal, their dreams and desires for you.
What is the purpose of baptism? We talk a lot about purpose here in the church, the purpose for marriage, for family, for our lives. What is the purpose of baptism? It illustrates our private decision in a public way. When you are baptized you are saying that you are standing. Go back to our acrostic. When a person is baptized, they are saying they are committing. They are going to see, to think, to act because of a new direction.
And they are going public with that. They are willing to be held accountable. When someone goes under the water, that represents the old life. When they come out of the water, that represents the new life.
Also, dumb daters ignore dashboard warning lights. I told you that a couple weeks ago a friend of mine dropped off this brand new Ferrari and said, “Here, drive it for a couple of days.” He was going out of town. This Ferrari here is old. [sarcastically] It has 8000 miles on it. His was almost brand new. It only had 1000 miles. It was a sweet ride.
So I was driving this car, and all of a sudden my worst nightmare became a reality because the dashboard was like lighting up and flashing. I’m like, “Oh no!” I called him on the phone and he said, “Ed, don’t worry about it. You can wreck the car. I don’t care. It’s insured, just have a good time.” I said, “Yeah but these warning lights,” and he said, “Ah, don’t worry about it, I’ll get it checked out.”
When he got back home he took the car to the Ferrari dealership and he called me. He was laughing and he goes, “Ed, you were talking about that dash board light going on and off? Do you know what the Ferrari dealer told me?” I said, “No.” He said, “The Ferrari dealer told me, ‘Whoever drove the car last wasn’t driving it fast enough or hard enough!” I was like, “Oh, man!”
If we date our way instead of God’s way we will never drive our Ferrari hard enough or fast enough. You see, our Ferrari is made to hit on all cylinders. It’s made to have those RPM’s redlined. It’s made to really cruise down this relational road. If we do it God’s way, that’s what’s going to happen. And if we don’t, we’re going to hydroplane and hit pot holes and end up as relational wreckage.
He knows if we chase or love anything else other than him, we’re gonna miss the meaning of life. What’s so ironic is, our culture doesn’t really know God but we know his name. Our culture takes God’s name in vain all the time. God damn it, people say; Jesus Christ; oh, my God! Exodus Chapter 20 verse 7 says, “do not take the name of the Lord your God in vain”. Don’t use it flippantly, irreverently, or casually. The name of God was so precious to the Israelites they wouldn’t even articulate it. They wouldn’t even write it. You know we hear these comedians just rip on God and drop the “f” bomb every other breath and then they have the audacity at the end of their performance to say, God bless you, peace! (some audience laughter) What is up with that? If God walked up to your conversation, could you introduce him? Yeah, you know his name, but could tell about his character? His nature, the essence of who he is. The Bible said, and I just read, that, that, that we should worship God because of his name. Do you know what the name of God really means? You know what the name of God really carries? I don’t know. Psalm 139; “for you created my inmost being”, the psalmist writes, “you knit me together in my mother’s womb”. That, that’s a true thread isn’t it? The, the true designer. That’s God designing you and me. “I praise you because I’m fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful, I know that full well”. But if your priorities are straight, you will be confident, serene and secure in who you are and you can be like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
Hannah understood that. Elkanah, in a sense, understood that as well. We, in this day and time, have to understand that. Elkanah and Hannah worshipped together, the Bible says. One of the most important things you can do for your marriage is to worship with your spouse. Husbands, make sure that worship is a priority for you. As I have said many times before, something supernatural takes place when people open God’s word and teach. Something supernatural takes place when you worship in a corporate setting. Be here when the doors are open. Be here and involved in the local church. God will bless your life.
Speaking of worshipping together, let me just say a quick word to singles. Let me do a quick sidebar. If you are single, you might be saying, “This message is not for me. How can I relate?”
Hannah was married to Elkanah. They had a godly relationship. Not perfect, but it was God centered for that culture. The Bible insists, singles and students, that you only date, only marry those people who are believers. Can you imagine being unequally yoked? Can you imagine being hooked up with one person going one way and another person going another way? You can’t worship together. You can’t really share together. You cannot have a deep relationship together in the truest sense.
And then she tells the children to play the quiet game. Let’s be honest here. Don’t we sometimes get into arguments on the way to church? Come on now.
Not that you’ll not have any more struggles; not that you will not struggle in this area or that any more, but he will give you a peace that surpasses all understanding. Your eternity will be a lock. Your gifts, and abilities, and aptitudes will take on a whole new flavor and feel. Your made, your wired, your fashion, you’re woven for this relationship. God makes much over us so we can make much over him. But you can’t make much over him until ya, until ya know him. So may conclude this time together with just a time of prayer. Bow your heads with me for a moment. Every head is bowed, every eye is closed. If you want to make this decision, and only you can make it, but I can tell you how to do it. Just, just say these words with me; God, I am, I am like a sheep, man, I’ve, I’ve gone my own way; I’ve gone over this cliff and that cliff; I’ve tried this, I’ve tried that; and I’m beaten down Lord, I’m, I’m kinda on one knee, so just put the other knee down and say, Jesus Christ, I admit to you that I’m lost, that I’m a sinner, I turn from my sins and turn to you. I believe, God, that you sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sins and rise again and right now, just say that, right now I open the door of my life to you. Lord come into my life, cleanse me, change me, be my shepherd, be my shepherd.
Down deep you want that provision that only God can give. You want that victory that only he can give. And he secured it for us on the cross. You want that guidance, you want that GPS system and that’s what it means to walk in concert with Christ himself. Just say, God I want my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. I wanna go by your name and live by the ultimate designer. Hey, if you said that prayer, if you prayed along those lines, after this service we would love to talk to you and if you would make a bee line to the lobby area, to the information kiosk, we have staff members and pastor’s and men and women who would love to talk with you about this decision. Maybe you have some questions about the Christian life. Maybe you have some questions about a certain area. We would love to help you and talk to you. It’s not an accident that you’re here. It’s by divine appointment and we thank the Lord for that.
When we go together we sometimes argue in the car, then happily greet others when we get out. I am talking about worship today. Come prepared.
Another way to extinguish the flames is to think about what comes before your eyes. Think about the things that you watch on your computer screen, the things you read, the things in your video library. If they fan the flames of unfaithfulness, get rid of them. Pornography is big business, over eight billion dollars a year. Trash it. Get rid of it. It is not worth it. You don’t want to sign up for boatloads of pain and anguish that will slowly and strategically cause you. Because Satan will use it to lie to you. Well, if that person can do that…
Ladies, let me say a direct word to you. Dress tastefully. Make sure what you wear is a tasteful outfit. I am not saying to wear a bag over your body. I am all for fashion. But some of the outfits that women wear, they fan the flames of unfaithfulness. Think about it.
Do you feel the presence of flames in your life? Is it getting scary? Let me say a word about touchy-feely people. “I have just got to touch. I have just got to hug. I have just got to flirt a little bit. It is just a little suggestive talk to close this business deal.” You are messing around with fire. You might be touchy-feely and say to yourself that no one can take it the wrong way. But you will be touchy-feely one day with someone who will take it the wrong way. And those suggestive comments, those jokes, it can take down the barriers, stir the embers. It is a slow, methodical process.
Let me give you another one. This is huge here. Embark on a lifelong journey to enrich your marriage. Won’t you do that today? Just make a commitment before God. “God, I want to embark on a lifelong journey to enrich my marriage.” It takes work to have a great marriage. You never arrive, you never say that you have figured it all out. It takes one little act after another little act, then all those acts begin to build a great marriage.
“Dear Ed. I am writing you this letter because I know that in a couple of weeks you will be giving a message on thou shalt not commit adultery. I will be in the service that day, but my spouse may no longer be with me. I am sending this letter for a couple of reasons. Number one. I am praying for a miracle that something God says through you today will save my marriage and my spouse will forgive me. Number two.
not, that this short letter may serve as a wakeup call for others considering these actions or others who have been involved with someone. None of what has happened in our marriage has been a big all-at-once problem. Our problems were one little thing at a time. Just little steps of moving further and further apart.”
I believe the purposes of the church are set forth in the Bible, and they are the non-negotiables, but we can choose the methodology.
Commentator: And one visitor to the church while we were taping that story is someone you may recognize. He is the Rev. George Exoo who has been a guest on this program before. He reviews churches and church services for a Pittsburgh radio station, and we sent him to Dallas to cast a critical eye on those services. Rev. George Exoo joins us this morning. Well, let’s get right to your review. how did you rate that service that we saw?
Rev. George Exoo: It is five stars. Five crosses, maybe, I should say. I thought this was a fantastic service. This man is doing everything right. From the minute you pull in the parking lot and are greeted by people who direct you where to park and say good morning to you. One hundred and twenty-four people are trained to be greeters in that parking lot. From the moment you walk into the auditorium and see video clips and live drama and upbeat, wonderful music and an enthusiastic sermon that really addressed, in this case, a very real, human condition—how to build your body and how to keep it in good shape.
Commentator: So he was talking to people about the things that matter to them.
Rev. George Exoo: The things that most matter to them in their lives. He is really reaching the target audience that he wants to reach with a very important message that helps them stay enthusiastic about life.
[End of Video]
They did a nice piece on us for Good Morning America. Obviously, I would take issue with Dr. Exoo on some things, but anyway….
We began to look for some land. Our church was brand new and we thought that 30 to 40 acres would be just enough land for our church. The problem was, land was out of sight. We couldn’t touch it financially.