The Glory of God (part 2)

Here are the slides from today > The Glory of God

At some point in your life, God appeared in your story – “and the Glory of God shone all around them and they were terrified” When God appears, your story changes.  He is beyond all comprehension.

Sometimes this happens quite innocently – you’re 12 years old, off at a church youth camp and God moves on your soul and you accept Jesus as your Savior.  For others of us, this moment comes when at the depth of our depravity and sin, we reach a level of brokenness that can only be saved by a miracle … and God … shows up.  Others of us have pursued our flesh, chased our pleasures, sought after money and possessions to medicate our broken souls and a friend introduces us to perhaps a better way … and we meet Jesus for the first time.

Whatever the case, when God truly comes into your life, whenever God moves upon your soul – your life will never be the same.  And you will know by the fruit it bears.  You will know it when that man walks away from his selfish desires of “me first” and changes seemingly overnight.  You know it when the drug dealer becomes a missionary.  You know it when a woman stands to testify and she can barely get the words out of her mouth about how radically transformed her life is because of Jesus.  HE is who we worship.  HE is why we praise.  HE is why we stand and sing and dance and why we move towards others in love as brothers.  HE is why we give up worldly pleasures to chase after more of God.  To God be ALL the Glory!

The missionary Jim Elliott famously said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose” Let that soak in.

And so this morning, We challenged the current status quo and asked some tough questions.  Why are you saved?  Is it for prosperity?  Is it so you can be comfortable?  So you can lead a blessed and prosperous life?  So you can keep your faith to yourself because you’re really not comfortable intruding into others lives with a discussion of spirituality?

Why are you saved?

What purpose did God have in mind when He rescued you?  What is your calling?  What is your divine purpose?  You possess the most valuable treasure in the universe – a God who loved you so much that He GAVE Jesus … for you.  He did so … for a reason.  You have a role to play in HIStory.  What is it?

The problem with the “why are you saved?” question is that for many of us, we’ve fallen into the trap of living out an inverted theology.  Instead of “Glory to God in the highest” as our first and foremost, we’re living out “my” story.  It’s me.  Mine.  My glory.  My accomplishments.  The success of my kids.  The success of my career.  My pleasure.  My consumption.  My gratification.  My trips.  My luxuries.  My comfort.

To that end, I ask you, “If your sin is not gluttonous and ravenous, then what is it?”  I mean really.  Let’s just say it like it is.  Indeed, my sin is both full of a gluttonous, and ravenous hunger that cannot be quenched.  There isn’t enough sex, isn’t enough gratification, isn’t enough pleasure or money or applause, approval, devotion, attention to fill the hole in my soul.

And you know this too by its fruit – a man cannot sin in isolation.  His ravenous appetite for “more” always brings collateral damage to others.

The inverted theology explains so much.  It explains all the Goliath’s in our life and why they are so powerful.  It explains why we leave our church because the music is too loud or not reverent enough.  We leave because the kids program isn’t exactly how we think it needs to be or because the pastor won’t take the political side we need him to take.  We are there in church as a consumer.  Inverted theology fully explains the prosperity “gospel” because, after all, it is all about “me” and God wanting to bless me.  Inverted theology explains why we’ve watered down the Gospel, won’t take controversial stands and why we’ve embraced a “politically correct” stance.  We’re making it all about us instead of being all about God and what HE is doing.

I fear we’ve lost sight of that radical God and the earth-shattering transformations He has brought about in our lives.  When you know that God, you will chase after Him with all your might.  You will worship and sign and dance and you’ll not care what others may think about you.  You’ll “get” what Jim Elliott was talking about.  The things of this earth won’t satisfy and you know it.  You’ll want more of God and less of the world.  God saved you for a reason, for a divine purpose.  We live in a toxic “me-first” world and we have an enemy just waiting for the chance to trip us up and lure us into a self-absorbed lifestyle.  He lulls us into a spiritual complacency and a “nice, comfortable” Christianity and as Louie said last week, the enemy is fine with that as long as you invert.  If you make the story about you and your wonderful life, he is fine with you adding, “Oh, and I worship a great God”. 

What the enemy fears is you waking up to what is going on and re-inverting the story to put God rightfully back up on top of the story.  Now it is HIStory and I have a supporting role to play.  I will go anywhere, do anything He calls me to.  Will I have worldly success and all the creature comforts?  Surely not but I am giving up things I cannot keep anyway for treasure I can never lose.  A man told me today about a young girl hoping to go to North Korea as a missionary… North Korea!  He said, “that’s pretty risky” and she said, “Oh I never envisioned entering heaven with all my arms and legs anyway”.  Wow.

What are you going to do with all this … ?

 

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the question for you…

So…what is it for you?  What is it that God is calling you to?  You see, it is just so easy to drown in the busyness of this life.  To drown in our past mistakes, hurts, hang-ups and habits.  To drown in the pressures we all face – with our wives, our children, our budget, future expenses, current debt, the pressures of work, the demands of the yard, the taxes, the sick parents, the… the… the…

But as we drown in the busyness, we turn inwardly focused and this “God-stuff”, this radical call of McManus, this stuff we talk about week after week at ManSchool seems go to the “yeah, whatever” file, the back burner.  There simply isn’t time.

Inwardly focused is dangerous.  It is self-focused and self-consuming.  The more inward we focus, the more inward we turn.  McManus’ call is spot-on.  There is, indeed, a hero inside you awaiting to be awakened.  That hero is called to go out, not in.  To live outward.  To live wide awake.

This is what we’re going to be discussing starting next week.  We will start with just the introduction to the book Wide Awake.  If you don’t have a book, get one but you don’t have to have it.  If you want me to order you one, just comment below.  Just come.  Join us.  Let God speak to your soul to become a part of this UPrising of men.  Something powerful is happening.  Each of our last two sessions have been faced with some opposition, some chaos.  It was 35 degrees this morning in a driving rain storm and I dropped the box of books, face down, in a huge puddle of water.  The internet didn’t work.  We are opposed.  And I very much believe we are opposed because we are onto something.  Dream big because something big is about to happen in this community of men.

For those of you that haven’t yet come, we welcome you next week with open arms.  The invitation is wide open.  We would love to have you.  But you have to come in order to experience it…

the start of the barbarian way

ManSchool kicked off this morning with an attack.  After standing up in front of the Church and challenging men to join this movement, my power went out sometime after 4am.  My phone startled me awake.  My clock said 1:40.  I was disoriented and yet lept out of bed.  When you have a daughter off at college, 1:40am calls are alarming.  It was Derrick informing me it was really 6:03 and I was late for ManSchool.  Sometime between 4am and 5am, our power went out and the alarm clock reset 12:00.  Chaos ensued.  Flying down I-185, Amazing Grace came on Sirius and I breathed in for what seemed to be the first time of the morning.  I slowed down.  I trusted and turned the morning over to the Lord.  I came in to discover 40 men waiting with Keith and Derrick sharing what was on their heart.  God is good.  So good.  And there was grace for me.

My whole day was a train-wreck.  Slammed busy and way behind at work.  Fighting all day with an insurance company over a claim for my daughter who was in a wreck in November.  A feeling of oppression on me all day long.  Slow traffic in front of me.  Long lines at Chick-Fil-A.   I called my wife just because I needed to hear her voice and she was at lunch with a friend and couldn’t really talk (sweetly, she called me after her lunch was over).  Oh and I am coming down with a cold and my brain has been in a fog all day.  Ryan Walker texted me late today and said, “I’m just going to say that I think the Devil cut your power this morning because something great was about to happen at ManSchool”Does life just randomly stink or are we opposed?

Is anything about Jesus safe?  This what McManus asked this morning.  What about Jesus is safe?  We frequently hear, “the safest place to be is in the center of God’s will”  —  or  — “Jesus always comes through for us”

Have you heard those before?  Aren’t they comforting?  Maybe…but they aren’t Biblical.  Where did we get that?  Why do we teach people that it is safe to be in God’s will?

Remember Aslan from Narnia?  The children asked “Is he good?” and the beaver replied, “Oh he is good but he isn’t safe”.  John was radically in the center of God’s will and he was beheaded.  Paul was in prison, flogged, 40 lashes, stoned, shipwrecked and in constant danger.

Safe?  Where did we get that it was safe to follow Jesus?

We got civilized along the way and we’ve taught people that God’s optimal desire is for us to live an insulated life, in a bubble where you risk nothing, sacrifice nothing and worry about nothing.  And yet, Jesus died to free us from the fear of death.  He came to liberate us so we’d die up front and then go really live.  He wants to take us where only dead men can go.

So that’s it.  I’ll stop there and simply ask – what are you risking?  what are you sacrificing?

We’ll see you next Wednesday at 6am and we’ll take this a step further and I’ll be triple sure that my alarm goes off!

LiveUP!

short note – serious food for thought…

Jesus’ sentences stand like quivering swords of flame because He did not come to bring peace but revolution.

The Gospel is a cutting-edge, rolling thunder, convulsive earthquake in the world of the human spirit.

In entering human history, God has shattered all previous conceptions of who God is. 

The life He has planned for us is much more like the life He lived.  (think about that!)

He was not poor that we may become rich.

He was not mocked that we may be honored.

He was not laughed at so that we could be praised.

We are not to fill up what is wanting in us in the suffering of Christ.

Brennan Manning