What do you expect?

here are the slides from today     wide awake – expect

here are the slides from last week    wide awake – adapt

Today we talked about expectation.  As an intro and in reality, what is a great summary of this entire book is the Cadet Maxim…

Risk – more than others think is safe
Care – more than others think is wise
Dream – more than others think is practical
Expect – more than others think is possible

This is a great summary of living Wide Awake.  Having these four goals is a wonderful summary of this book and this mission we are on as men of God.  The world needs us fully alive.  The world needs us “expecting” great things.  Remember Coach Pete Carroll’s comment of “Day to day, I keep expecting something good to happen.”  It’s a mindset.  It’s a posture of leaning forward into life instead of shrinking back.

Life is tough.  We’ve talked about this all Spring.  It beats you up.  You expect, you dream and your dreams don’t come true.  One man this morning said in essence he doesn’t feel like a hawk or an eagle but rather a squirrel.  That’s life.  Shattered dreams.  Hopes dashed.  And after enough of that, we begin to take it personally.  We begin to take it “inward” personally.  We own it.  We make agreements with it.

And so… the next time we venture out to take a risk and dream a little and expect something good to happen, that little voice appears and says, “You know, you are a failure, right?”  And we shrink back.

Lies.  All lies.

You may be right here.  You may feel like a total failure.  A divorce.  A porn addiction.  Financial problems.  A dead-end job.  Children who’ve gone off the rails and are lost.  All of these may be a fact.  But you don’t have to make agreements with them.  You don’t have to take one failure – or five failures in a row – and make it pervasive.  By pervasive, I mean you take that failure and spread it to other areas of your life.  “I failed in business, so I’ll just go ahead and start a fight with my wife.”  That kind of pervasiveness.  And you sure don’t want to make it permanent i.e. to make a full agreement that I’ll always be a failure.  This is where the enemy strikes at our heart.

Don’t buy the lies.

You are NOT a failure.  You may have failed but there is a huge difference between failing and being a failure.  Don’t believe it.  No, instead believe the truth of the Cross.  Believe that He created you to create.  Imagined you to imagine.  Dreamed you up so you can dream.  Believe you are a Masterpiece uniquely created, uniquely gifted, uniquely loved.  You are no squirrel.  You are a stallion.  A warrior.  A bald eagle.  A red-tailed hawk.  A lion.  You are a man of God.  Believe that.

If you believe that Jesus got up and walked out of that tomb, you’ve got to believe you can expect “more” of this life than you are presently believing.  You’ve got to expect that God still has great plans for you.  You are needed – oh so desperately needed.  This world needs you to believe, needs you to expect.  It is going to hell in a hand basket.  Quickly.  Shockingly.  Over the falls kind of quickly.  It needs you to believe.  Faith is not a gift just for you.  It is a gift to you so you can be a gift to others.  In order for you to be able to give it away, you’ve got to believe.  You have to expect.

“So do not throw away your confidence, it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  For in a little while, he who is coming and will not delay but my righteous one will live by faith.  And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.  But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”  Hebrews 10:35

Don’t shrink back.  Lean forward into life.  Expect.  Day to day, keep expecting something great to happen.  I can testify that if you will take this posture on and own it, God will show up in lots of ways you’ve previously been missing.  He loves you.  Expect Him to show up.


let it go…worship the Lord…

College kids worship the Lord.  They are too young to know that it isn’t civilized to let it go and worship.  So…they worship.  They are unencumbered, they are free.  We adults, on the other hand are too introspective, too self-absorbed, too hurt, too wounded, too bound-up and therefore, too tame.  We have made religion all about being safe, wealthy, “blessed”, riskless, predictable, manageable.  We’ve made it all about “me”.

Where on earth did we get that notion from?  Look at Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Joseph, Esther, Daniel – all of them snatched from comfort and safety and the life they knew and thrust into radical dependence of God.  Where did we come to believe that a life of faith was supposed to be predictable and safe?  What’s the cost of that belief?  Everything.

We talked this morning about the Love of God – Oh how He loves us.  God did not give it all through His Son on the Cross this Friday so you can be a “nice guy” or a “good, dutiful Christian businessman”.  He gave it all for reason…for His love of you.  He loves you.  Radically.

And so, worship Him.  Just freaking worship Him.  If only for one reason and one reason alone, because He loves you.

Kari Jobe was in Opelika last week and as she started the concert she called those that wanted to come up front.  The college students rushed to the front and just let go in worshipping the Father.  They are too young to know this wasn’t civilized.  I want that.  From now on, I want that.  Who cares?  Who am I trying to impress with my civility?  He loves me.  He gave it all for me.  I get to wake up every day and just worship and celebrate Him and feel His love and pleasure with me.  I am a Masterpiece.  His is the Voice I am going to listen to.  He alone is worthy of praise.

So we closed with this song.  Pray these words over you today and the days to come as we prepare for Good Friday and beyond.  We stood this morning at our close.  Some of us “sort of” danced.  Many of us lifted our hands and let these words drench us with His love.  Personalize these words…

“I am your church.  I am your son.  I am gathered here to meet with you.  I lift my eyes.  I lay my heart before you expectant here for you to move.  With my hands to the heaven alive in your presence oh God when you come.  So pour out your Spirit.  I love to be near you oh God when you come.  You are the way, the truth and the life I live for.  Oh how I long to know you more.  Come like a rushing wind.  Come light my fire again.  Come like a burning flame.  Have your way in me.  Have your way.”

rock it out.  turn it up.  don’t hold back.  just worship.  just worship…

who told you that you were naked?

This morning … wow, it just blew me away.  I’ve seen this 4 times now and each time, I am taken deeper into it.  This is so vital to this journey we are on.  I wanted to get you this link so you can have access to the podcast.

Please invest the 45 minutes or so to watch this.  Let me suggest that you watch it a second time with your wife.  Let God speak into your soul…

go to http://www.mosaic.org — click on podcast/streaming, video podcast and then click on the 3/9/14 episode “The Artisan Soul, who told you you were naked”

Men, this is such a critical part of our journey.  Much like the talk on the Vine, we need to pay attention to the voices we are listening to and in reality, if we aren’t connected to the Vine, we’re going to be listening to the wrong voices.  All of us have those voices – voices of fathers who told us we are half-ass and we’d never amount to anything, voices of older brothers who knocked us down to keep us in our place, voices of past loves who broke our heart and then turned to another man, voices of a coach who told us we probably didn’t need to be on the team, voices of bosses who told us we simply didn’t have what it took to make it in business.  We’ve all got them and they do untold damage to our souls.

And so, we wander around beaten, broken, ashamed and half the man we were meant to be.  And if God could pull you aside right now, He’d simply ask, “who told you that you were naked, who have you been listening to?”

You are a masterpiece, dreamed up by God long before you were ever born.  He created you to create, He imagined you so you can image, He dreamed of you so you can then in turn dream.  So many of us no longer believe this.  But you should – it’s still there buried under the silt and damage of years of lies from the father of all lies, buried under the voices of broken, wounded people.

The prayer for you right now is this – “Lord, make me a masterpiece.  I will be a work of art and an artist at work.  I will dream great dreams and imagine a future that does not yet exist.  I will refuse to let reality limit what God can do in me.”

I won’t ramble (though I could).  I simply want you to watch this video and soak it in and then, if you will, share a comment below as to what God spoke into your soul while you were listening to this.

dig deep.  dream big.  shine.


who are you listening to?

This Wednesday,  we will be talking about this topic – whose voice are you listening to?

You were created in the image of God – “after our likeness”.  You were made “like God”.  In His image.  And then a new voice entered the scene and the serpent told Eve that God didn’t want them to eat the fruit because if they did, they would be “like God”.

So God didn’t want me to eat this fruit because I would be “like God” and yet I was originally created to be “like God”?  That makes no sense.  Exactly.

The serpent tricked them and … a new voice entered the scene and from that moment on, we have let other voices into our soul telling us all that we are “not” and that we are “less”.  For some of us the voices are so powerful we think it is our own voice talking.  We’ve lost our own voice.

You are here.  You’ve had those voices speak into your soul telling you you’ll never be a man, you’ll always fail, no one will ever truly love you, you can’t depend or trust anyone, etc.  Enough of this and eventually, you’ve come to believe it and you’ve even started saying these things yourself.  You’ve lost your voice.

That’s what we are going to unpack on Wednesday.  It’s a powerful talk that you don’t want to miss.  It will bless you and open your soul to some incredible healing if you will allow the Spirit to speak truth into you.

Join us at 6am…

Wide Awake – Discover

Wednesday morning we talked about dreaming and expanded into discovery.  I know this entire dreaming concept and even this “wide awake” is hard to grasp.  I can see it in your eyes as we go through this.  Some of you sit there and the look on your face tells me, “this dreaming stuff just isn’t for me”.  That is the problem.  That is – precisely – why we chose this book and why we are talking about dreaming, discovering, exploring, creating, etc.  It is precisely because … for so many of us … it is so hard to do.

Why is that?  Why is this notion of curiosity, discovery, dreaming, exploring so hard?

For many of us it is because we are listening to the wrong voices.  We are going to DIVE hard into that next week.  Please come next week.  This is another slight deviation we will take by the Spirit’s leading but I firmly believe next week will really minister to you.

The wrong voices.  You listen to the voices that say, “That’s a foolish pipe dream” or “You will never succeed in that” or “Your last venture failed, whatever you do, don’t risk it again.”  Perhaps you’ve been burned by love – you gave your heart and it was crushed.  You think you’ll never love again.  Perhaps you have some real pain from your father and never felt like you measured up and that voice of doubt whispers in your ear.

Whatever “it” is, so many of us have lost the capacity to discover, to dream, to explore.  But you need to know that desire is innate in you – you were born with it.  All of you.  You have incredible capacity to dream and create and discover.  Man discovers new things every day – new cures, new systems, new fertilizers, new solutions to social problems, new patterns to fix manufacturing processes, etc.  In fact, if all of us no longer had the capacity to dream/create/discover, the human species would cease to exist.

So what is it for you?  Where are you in this?  Do you believe you can still dream?   If not, does your life kind of feel like it is on a dead-end street?  What about this instead…

“I want to drink of the deep mystery and keep growing and learning and exploring and discovering.  I want to see that which was once invisible to me.  I want to begin to live that which was once unimaginable.  I don’t want a dream so small that my brain can contain it.  I want to pursue a dream so big, whispered into my soul by God, that it terrifies me. (i.e. a dream so big God HAS to show up for it to happen)”

Do you believe that is possible?  Does it compel you?  Does that statement stir something in you – some lost treasure buried under the silt of your life?  It’s there and that statement gives you just a taste, just a whisper of the life that is possible in you.

And by the way, to clarify, this isn’t some prosperity gospel.  We’re not talking about you becoming the next Steve Jobs or Elon Musk though for some of you, perhaps that business visionary is there just waiting to be awakened.  But our focus is on the spiritual side of this.  I’m talking spiritually – that spiritually, you need a dream.  You need to never quit discovering, pushing, dreaming, visioning.  God is whispering a role, a ministry, a service into your life and for many of us, it is buried under the silt, buried under the voices that tell you “it will never work”.  THAT is what we are after.  We want to drown out those voices and dig into the silt to find the treasure God gave you that just now sits there awaiting your discovery of your inner purpose.  The last page of David Platt’s book Radical closes with this…

“So what happens when radical obedience to Christ becomes the new normal?  Are you willing to see?  You have a choice.  You can cling to short-term treasures that you cannot keep, or you can live for long-term treasures that you cannot lose: people coming to Christ; men, women, and children living because they now have food; unreached tribes receiving the gospel.  And the all-consuming satisfaction of knowing and experiencing Christ as the treasure above all others.

You and I have an average of 70-80 years on this earth.  During those years we are bombarded with the temporary.  Make money.  Get stuff.  Be comfortable.  Live well.  Have fun.  In the middle of it all, we get blinded to the eternal.  But it’s there.  You and I stand on the porch of eternity.  We will stand before God to give an account for our stewardship of the time, resources, gifts and ultimately, the gospel He has entrusted to us.  When that day comes, I am convinced we will not wish we had given more of ourselves to living the American dream.  We will not wish we had made more money, acquired more stuff, lived more comfortably, taken more vacations, watched more TV, pursued greater retirement or been more successful in the eyes of this world.  Instead we will wish we had given more of ourselves to living for the day when every nation, tribe, people and language will bow around the throne and sing the praises of the Savior who delights in radical obedience and the God who deserves eternal worship.

Are you ready to live this dream?  Let’s not waiver any longer.”

And let me end with this about Mark Sivak (with his permission).  I have been watching Mark and observing God doing things in his life.  We had lunch a month or so ago and I heard his story and heard the stirring in his heart.  I had tagged Mark as a key future leader of this community of men and in our discussion, he said essentially, “there are just some things I cannot do, like speaking in front of people.”  We talked about fear and about which voices he is listening to.  Mark really gravitated to the session we had on staying attached to the Vine and he dove into a season of Lent.  Last week he emailed me…

“I have been spending time during this lent season seeking The Lord.  He has talked to me a lot about how to live as a man and about manschool. I’ve been writing what he’s been saying down.  I will walk forward in whatever capacity he calls me to in manschool. We should plan on getting together to talk in the coming weeks after he releases me from this time of “solitude”.  I have unplugged almost completely for a little while, taking vacation from work, and being still before Him.”

I affirmed his time of solitude and staying attached to the Vine and encouraged him to dig deep into what God was telling him.  And I reiterated that I see him as a key leader going forward and he replied back…

“He has delivered me and will continue to deliver me to show me that He is able and my all in all.  I am grateful that I can do “nothing” on my own, because then I am drawn to The vine where I get the real nourishment.   I’m ready and joyful to step out and let The Lord use me, and to be part of the work He is doing (in manschool).  All His works are awe inspiring.  He has overcome (my) fear and I must learn to walk in faith with Him in ministry as he calls me.  He is worth more to me than my flesh or pain or humility.  I don’t want to sit on the sidelines and watch life go by, I don’t want to squander my talents and be driven by fear, there’s no life in it.  But we live by faith.”

Beautiful.  Simply beautiful.  The Lord has overcome Mark’s fear and he is now saying, “I will step out and go where He calls me” and “I don’t want to sit on the sidelines and watch life go by.”

Mark is attached to the Vine, staying attached to the Vine and he is listening.  Isn’t it sweet how the Lord has spoken truth into his heart and knocked out those voices of failure telling him, “you can’t speak in public”.  Do you see how this works?  Do you see how a great man can get beaten onto the bank and vow never to get back into the River, to no longer dream, imagine, envision, discover and create?

Whose voice are you listening to?  That is the critical question at this juncture of our journey together and next week, something special is going to happen as we dive into this.