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 in Texas.
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 in Texas. 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: I think it’s fascinating when I look back at this old school message, because so many of the things I talk about today are still built off what I said in this first message.
Old Ed: Now throughout the game the fans, they repeated one cheer. Over and over and over again. They said, “If you got it, now use it. If you got it, now use it. If you got it, now use it.”
New Ed: If you got it, now use it.
Old Ed: And when those guys would hear that it would spur them on. And let me tell you something. Eau Claire had it and they flat used it. Now when I heard that cheer I immediately thought about the Christian life. That’s what Christ is saying to me. That’s what Christ is saying to you. He’s saying, “Ed Young Jr., if you’ve got it, if you’ve received me into your life, now I want you to use it.”
T.S. This morning we are going to look at four questions. The first one: How do you get it. The second one is: Once you have it, what happens in your life? The third one: Who keeps you, who keeps me, from really living the abundant life? And finally: What keeps us from this abundance?
Let’s look at the first question. It’s found in verse 9, the answer of it. How do we get it? Jesus says, “I am the door. If anyone enters through me he shall be saved.” That’s the answer right there. I am the door. Christ didn’t say, “I am a door.” That’s the definite article in the Greek. In the Greek language when they used a definite article, they mean ‘that is it. That is the door.’ So Christ says, “I am the door. I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.”
The word ‘door’ is a beautiful word. It refers to an eastern shepherd as he’s letting his sheep graze in the morning and in the afternoon. And then when nighttime comes he takes his sheep and gathers the sheep into something called the sheepfold. A sheepfold is a corral-type structure built of rocks and shrubs and the sheep are inside of this corral-type structure. And there is an opening right at the front of this sheepfold.
New Ed: I remember reading every book, every commentary, looking at the original language in the Greek to find out as much as I could about these verses, and also about sheep and about the abundant life.
Let’s bow for prayer together. Dear Heavenly Father, clear our hearts and our minds of every outside thought except what you’re going to say to us. Oh Lord, you know I have nothing to say but you have everything to say. You give me the words. For we ask these things in the precious and holy name of Jesus. Amen.
New Ed: You know what’s scary is to hear my accent. I sound like Joel Osteen. A-men! I don’t know why I talked like that. You know, I grew up in the south and I still had that nasally southern twang and for some reason I don’t have that accent any more. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s due to moving to Dallas and a lot of the travels and things of that nature.
Old Ed: During the Christmas holidays my wife and I went back to her home town, Columbia, South Carolina. Now, Columbia is an exciting place to visit, especially when you visit your in-laws. Now I was there in Columbia, sitting lazily on a couch one afternoon. And I noticed in front of me a newspaper. I opened the newspaper and what section do I always turn to first? Not the front page, not the business section, but the sports section.
And as I was reading the sports section a headline caught my eye. It said, “Eau Claire Shamrocks #1 in Nation.” Now to you that doesn’t mean anything, Eau Claire Shamrocks #1 in the Nation, but to me it meant something. It meant Eau Claire High School, a small Podunk public school in Columbia, SC was rated the #1 basketball, the #1 high school basketball team in the country. I said, “Lisa, can you believe this? Can you believe Eau Claire? That’s the team I played against a long time ago, they’re #1 in the country!”
New Ed: It’s hilarious to see everybody wearing the coats and ties and the women all dressed up. I think that’s good but it kinda shows you the vibe of the church and where I came from.
Old Ed: So the next night my father-in-law and I went to Eau Claire High School to see the Shamrocks in action. Now let me tell you something about Eau Claire High School. You don’t just go to a game at Eau Claire. It’s not just an event, it is an experience. I mean they packed this gym out. The crowd is swaying back and forth, chanting cheers, and we are ushered into the game sitting right behind the bench. And we are watching these high school kids who look like Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, take the ball coast to coast from the length of the court, slam-dunk it. They were stealing passes, playing unbelievably!Fellowship Church
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.