Local

Living the Dream

How is everyone doing today, pretty good?  I want to welcome all of our campuses here in Grapevine, Miami, Plano, Downtown and also over in Fort Worth.  It is great to have you at Fellowship.  I think we’re the friendliest people in the western hemisphere.  We’re talking about dreams over the next several episodes and this church is really a dream center.

It is really is because we need to dream the biggest dreams possible which are the dreams that God has for all of our lives.  And I’m going to challenge you about something today.  I want to stretch your thinking and your imagination.  No matter what you’re thinking about, no matter what you’re dreaming about, God’s dreams are bigger and broader and more unbelievable than any dream that we can ever come up with on our own.

Listen to prayers and inspiring messages from Pastor Ed Young on http://winningwalk.org/

 

God with us by Pastor Ed Young

When our twins were born 12 years ago, I suggested to Lisa that we name them Monique and Unique, but she didn’t really dig it.  I don’t know why.  If you thumb through a 1st century baby book and look up the name “Jesus” you see that it means, “God saves.” And then in Matthew 1:23, it gives us another name of Jesus.  “Behold the virgin shall be with child and bear son.  They shall call his name Emanuel” which is translated, “God with us”.

I’m a “why” guy because during the Christmas season, we’re drawn.  We’re pulled to the staircase.  Why would God walk down the staircase of heaven with a baby in his arms?  Why would God do that?

Well, the name just told us it was to save us. But it was also to be with us.  Isn’t that mind boggling? The God the universe walked down the staircase of heaven with a baby in his arms so he could be with us and he affords us the opportunity to be with him? We can move from our environment to his environment.  God with us, God with us.

In 2008 the presidential elections will take place. And before the elections, the candidates will hit the campaign trail.  Man, they’ll be going off on this identification strategy.  You’ve seen it before.  These candidates will walk up to maybe an automotive plant and they’ll put on this hard hat and these protective goggles and they’ll try to awkwardly screw a bulb into a car or a truck. And the whole time they’re smiling for the cameras.

These people aren’t really identifying with those on the assembly line.  It’s an illusion.  It’s a smoking mirrors thing, a façade.  What’s interesting is that we accept that as fact.  We say, “Okay, they’re just like me.” When really they’re just giving us an illusion.

Or we will be like Grapevine Dam or Hoover Dam saying that what we have is ours and we will ride the camel the rest of our lives.  This is something that I deal with.  It is not always easy for me.

God’s plane by Pastor Ed Young

Ed Young

He sat down and someone said, “Hey, man, that’s my seat.” He apologized, “Oh, I’m sorry.” And they helped him find the right seat. My heart went out to him. I should have helped him, but I just watched him.

Then a woman boarded the plane, and she was kind of emotional. I could tell she’d not flown that much. She was a little shaky and very nervous.

So the plane takes off and we’re flying up at about 34,000 feet and we hit some turbulence. No big deal. The guy who had flown like one or two times was like, “Whoa! God is great, God is good let us thank Him…now I lay me down to sleep….” This guy was freaking out a little. The woman was really freaked out. Mr. Frequent Flyer, what was he doing? Drinking his bloody mary and reading the Wall Street Journal. He was unflappable. He had ice water in his veins! And the plane, several hours later, landed at DFW.

A lot of us think that when try to board God’s plane with our baggage, with our doubt, with our junk, and  with our questions, God says, “No, you’ve got to check those bags. You can’t board with those bags. No, not on my plane!”

But just the opposite is true. God says, “Baggage and all. I don’t care. You name the doubt, name the issue, and name the questions. Come on, come on, come on, Ed, with your doubt. That’s right. Come on with your questions, with your concerns. Yeah, you right there. Come on, come on. Bring it on.”

That’s what God says. There’s enough room for all of our baggage on God’s plane. Some of us have a tiny bit of faith. I mean, I’m talking like a mustard seed type faith.

Retro by Pastor Ed Young

Ed Young

Another vacation vandal.  The regimentation vacation.  We wake up at 7:31 a.m. and we go down to the lobby, drink hot coco and cheerios; 8:10 we go on a tour (audience laughter); because at 11:15 we got a horseback ride.  (audience laughter)  (Ed gestures)  Hi, Ho Silver!  Away!  Because at 4:00 we go parasailing.  MOMMY! (Ed gesturing)  UGH!  The regimentation vacation!  Talk about wearing you out!  It’s fine to do stuff and to have activities, but lets just chill and have a balance.  Then we have the perfection vacation.  It’s gotta be perfect!  It’s gotta be perfect man!  Perfect place.  Perfect combinations.  Perfect trial.  Perfect.  It’s not going to be perfect.  My family and I have had an incredible opportunity to travel to some cool places.  Been to Hawaii several times.  Been to the Bahamas.  And California; and New York, and that stuff is cool and all that, but you talk to our kids about their favorite memories; you talk to them about the magical times; it’s not on the beach; on Green Turtle Key.  It’s not in Maui; it’s not in, in, in, ugh, Pebble Beach.  You know what their best trips are?  Their best times?  Hey, Dad, remember the time when you put the luggage on top of the Suburban in those luggage racks and after we’d been gone for like 10 days you drove into the garage and you forgot the luggage racks were up there?  (Ed and audience laughing)  And you tore off the top of the garage!  (Ed really laughing with audience)  And the luggage fell everywhere!  You remember that?  And you got made and you blamed Lisa.  Remember that?  (audience continues laughing)  That’s the fun stuff!  Those are memories.  You gotta make those memories.  So when the tempers flare during those family outings, vacation, just say, oh, honey, honey, this is the way, we’re making a memory!  (audience laughing)  Because a couple of years from now we’ll all laugh about this around the Christmas tree, I promise you we will.  We have some funny stuff happen.

The local church by Pastor Ed Young

Ed Young

“Are you saying, Ed, if I bless somebody then I’m going to get blessed back 15 times?” No, I am not saying that.  But I am saying God is going to bless your life.  And by the way, do not tell me that this is a nice watch.  I will not give it to you.  Don’t try to chase me down after this service. Lightening only strikes once, right?

So we’re not owners, we’re simply managers. And when we understand that we will discover that every decision is a spiritual one.  We’re blessed to be blessings. That’s why we’re blessed.  God has gotten it to us and now he wants to get it through us to the greatest thing out there, the only institution that Jesus ever built: the local church.

So we’re blessed.  And speaking of blessings, if you have your Bibles, turn to the book of Judges 2.  Have you ever heard of a guy named Joshua in the Bible? How many people have heard of Joshua? Joshua was some kind of leader.  He led the children of Israel into the Promised Land, and as you read the history of God’s people and what Joshua was about, they were claiming different parts of the real estate, and everything was going well.

Yet in Judges, it says that Joshua clocked out.  He died.  Joshua, a phenomenal influencer, the Joshua generation, they went into the Promised Land. They closed this real estate deal, and everything was going and flowing for God’s people. Yet, there is a verse in Judges 2 that is a scary verse.  This verse disturbed me when I read it.

The bread of life by Pastor Ed Young

Ed Young

Jesus called Zacchaeus by name he said, “Zacchaeus I’m going to come to your house,” and read it with me, “Jesus came to the place he looked up and saw him and said, ‘Zacchaeus make haste,’ ” that means come down, “ ‘for today I’m coming over to your house.’ ” Well it keeps going, verse 6, “So Zacchaeus made haste, he came down the tree and he received him joyfully.”

So Zacchaeus opened the door of his house physically and invited Christ in. He sat down and broke bread with Jesus.  Right here, this is the first power lunch ever recorded in history.

This text, though metaphorically is like Revelation chapter 3 verse 20, Revelation chapter 3, verse 20.  Not Revelations, it’s Revelation.  Revelation chapter 3 verse 20.  It’s like this whole situation with Zacchaeus, that beautiful collision.  Revelation 3 verse 20, “ ‘Here I am,’ Jesus said.  ‘I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone, anybody, hears my voice and opens the door I’ll come in and eat with him and he with me.’ ”

So you have the door and you’ve got the table.  Jesus said in John chapter 10, verse 9, “I am the door.”  I said earlier Jesus said in John chapter 6, verse 35, “I am the bread of life.”  When Zacchaeus opened the door of his house physically to Jesus on a deeper level, he was opening the door of his heart, right?  As he sat down and broke bread with the bread of life, I’m sure Jesus was talking to him back and forth and sharing with him and Zacchaeus, as he began to absorb the words and open the door of his life to Christ, he probably said “Wow, I’m locking eyes with the bread of life.”

The early church by Pastor Ed Young

I love this next phrase, “…and that day there were added about 3,000 souls.” Read here 3,000 men, because back in this time they didn’t even count women and children. So it was probably like 5,000.  But let’s just be very conservative and talk about the guys, 3,000 were added that day.

Now we’re talking about the early church.  We’re talking about Simon Peter.  He was running.  He was a spiritual teenager.  “I’m the man of the hour, and then no I’m not.  I love Jesus.  I don’t know who you’re talking about.”  And then now he’s at Pentecost preaching and throwing down the word.  3,000 men bow the knee; they come to Jesus Christ.  So the first church grew to 4 or 5,000 in 10 minutes.  Sometimes people say, “Well I just don’t like a big church.”

I laugh and say, “Then you’re not going to like heaven because heaven is going to be a big place.”

If the church is around a lot of people it should be big.  If it is out in the middle of nowhere, it should be small.

It is interesting, 3,000 guys accepted the Lord because of Simon Peter standing up and preaching with that kind of boldness.  Now, don’t you know that Simon Peter and the disciples were huddled up going, “What do we do now?  We have got thousands of playpen-whining, Gerber-dining, nap-timing infants.  What do we do now?”

Think about it, what do you do?  Brand new believers, what do you do?  Well, the Holy Spirit gave them an infant message – the same message I want to give to all the infants in the house, the same message that I want to give to those going through adolescence, and also those who are the spiritual parents.  Are you ready for this?  Here is what they did.

The promises of God by Pastor Ed Young

On another leg, you’ve got belief.  On another leg, you’ve got action. I’m talking about A-C-T-I-O-N. Do that with me.  A-C-T-I-O-N.  We can do better than that.  A-C-T-I-O-N (with claps).  Thank you!  I knew that last one would really get it!

When it comes to the promises of God, I’ve got to know them.  Do you know them?  Are you clueless, or are you clued in?  Most of us are clueless, let’s face it.

Then we’ve got to believe them.  “Okay, I believe, God, in your promises.  I believe them.  I know them.  I believe them.”

Then, the third leg is I’ve got to put shoe leather or shoe rubber beneath them.  I’ve got to live them out.  I’ve got to tap into that.  I’ve got to know who I am and what’s available to me and what God has done in my life.  Those are huge, huge things for us to understand and for us to know—the promises of God.

The Bible says this in Hebrews 6 about the promises of God.  Hebrews 6:17-19 says, “Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath.”

Isn’t that cool?  The heirs—that’s you and me.

Verse 18, “God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.”

This series, over the next several weeks, about the promises of God will be encouraging.  I mean, you will be fired up!

Verse 19, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

We’re looking for an anchor.  Our culture is all about empty promises.  We make and break promises all the time.  Someone you don’t know walks up to you and they say, “Hey, can I borrow you iPOD?  I promise to give it back.”

 

Understand generosity by Pastor Ed Young

You know, talk to God about it. Do the knee-mail. Don’t do the e-mail. I’m just telling you what God says about it. And I don’t want to keep you from blocking this amazing cycle of blessings that can occur in your life.

You’re looking at a blessed man. I feel like I’m the most blessed man on planet earth? Why? Well, you know I’m not that smart. It has to do with obedience, but it has to do with, I’m telling you, with the piles of cantaloupes that God has entrusted me. Trust

Do I help us before God? Trust God in all your ways. Don’t lean on your own understanding. Don’t lean on what you see. Lean into what God has said. In all your ways acknowledge him; he’s going to keep your paths straight.

“Honor the Lord with your wealth,” Proverbs 3: 9-10, “with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” Wow! I want some of that. And I experienced some of that because of what I’m talking about.

So, trust. What does trust look like? It looks like time. It looks like talents and abilities. It also looks like treasure. So if I’m going to understand trust, I’ve got to understand generosity. Why is that? Because generosity is who God is.

Six things about generosity. Are you ready? Because generosity is what trust is all about. You want to trust? Well, have this generosity flowing.

Number one: Generosity is all about God. Say it with me. It’s all about God. Right. When I receive Jesus Christ, he comes into my life. When I bring the tithe and when I give my offerings—remember offerings are 11%, 12%, 13% over and above my tithe—when I do that, I’m agreeing with my nature, not my old nature, but my new nature in Christ.

It Provides Ultimate Protection by Pastor Ed Young

Authority – and we need to download this – authority is all about protection.  It’s not about dominance.  God puts it there for our protection.  He knows when we’re under authority, we’re going to be protected, we’re going to be purposeful and we’re going to be powerful.  And He knows for us to reach – I’ll say it again – the ultimate position in life, we’ve got to live a life of submission, submission to authority.

The answer, though, lies in this umbrella.  Are you an umbrella fella?  I don’t really like umbrellas that much.  I don’t carry them around and I don’t know why. I just don’t.  If I’m playing golf or something, I might have one with me on my golf bag. But just to carry an umbrella around?  That’s just not me.  I’m just not an umbrella fella and I don’t know why.  Maybe I don’t think it’s masculine or something.  I don’t know.  But I’ve paid the price because I have not carried umbrellas. And in this crazy Texas weather, I’ve been hammered by hail.  Ping, ping, ping, ping, ping.  I have been soaked to the bone by rain.  I just don’t carry an umbrella.  My wife is awesome.  She always carries an umbrella. And sometimes I’ll try to get underneath her umbrella, but you know, I’m kind of a big guy and I still get hammered.

And authority’s all about the umbrella, especially God’s authority, because God has an authority structure.  He always works through authority.  It’s for our what?  Our protection.  Now how idiotic would I look if I did this?  [Ed holds the umbrella at arm’s length.] “Wow, it’s raining.  I have this umbrella and I don’t know why in the world I can’t really see straight.  I don’t know why in the world I’m being hammered by hail and pelted by all this rain.  I just don’t know.”