Flag of submission to God by Pastor Ed Young

Will that work?  Well, maybe for the Cowboys, I don’t know.  I’m kidding.  I love the Cowboys.  Realistically speaking, it won’t work.  The center has a particular role that is very important to the team.  The quarterback has a role that is very important to the team.  Any time you mix up the rank you have problems.

James is saying, if we are going to end the war in our lives, we need to, first of all, wave the flag of submission to God.  Instead of us calling the plays, we allow God to call the plays.  Instead of us running our lives, we allow God to run our lives.

Look at the second flag that we need to wave.  Look at the next verse there, verse 8, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Grieve, mourn and wail.  Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.”

Mission Trips by Pastor Ed Young

Well, just show up and roll up your sleeves.  We have mission trips all over the world.  We have this camp that has thousands of opportunities available.  We have our student ministry, our children’s ministry, and our preschool ministry.  We have this Hand in Hand ministry where we help those who have lost loved ones.  We bring food to people who are destitute and downtrodden.  We have opportunities for Bible studies and opportunities for small groups.

So don’t sit there and say, “I don’t know what I’m supposed do.  I don’t know where I’m supposed to serve.” You’re asleep.  Wake up!  There are opportunities all around.  We need you to get off your rear and into the game.  Get out of the stands and on to the court.  It’s time to do it.  The time is short.  Don’t sleep.  Don’t sleep. Martin Luther had a dream of hell one day.  He dreamed the devil was sitting on the throne and a bunch of demons were reporting to the devil about what had happened. One demon came up to Satan and said, “Satan, let me tell you man, some Christians were going on this caravan throughout the desert and I caused these tigers to attack them and kill them.”

Satan said, “That’s stupid, because their souls are with Jesus.  That doesn’t do a thing for me.” Another demon said, “Satan, there were some missionaries on their way to this trip, to this island out in the middle of nowhere. And I caused this great wind and waves to hit the ship and it killed all the Christians.” Satan said, “Man, again, you don’t get it.  I’m after their souls.”

The Language of Zion by Pastor Ed Young

And then they told me, “Okay, we’ll all be sitting in the throne chairs and your key is when the organ begins to play softly, one of the pastors will look at you and give you a nod. When they give you that nod, that holy nod, that’s your time to pray.” And that’s what they did. The organ played softly and I was sitting on the edge of a throne chair. I looked and was waiting for the nod, and there it was.

So I gathered my thoughts and made my way up to the pulpit. It was my first public pastoral responsibility. I was a preacher’s kid, and I was thinking, “Okay, I’ve got to do well. I’ve got to do put my best ministerial foot forward. I’ve got to have my voice sounding right. The words have to be right—the ‘thees’ and the ‘thous.’ And it’s going to be a high, priestly prayer. I’m going to use all the Christianese and the language of Zion.”

And so I began to read the prayer. And man, the prayer was going great. I could tell people were into it. There were like, “Oh, he’s a chip off the old block. This is great man.” Oh yeah, I could just feel it, you know? And then I finished my prayer and I segued from my prayer into the Lord’s Prayer. And during the prayer I said, “Jesus taught his disciples to pray saying, would you repeat after me, ‘Our father…’” And thousands repeated after me, “Our father…” It felt really good. “Who art in heaven…” “Who art in heaven…”

Ordained into the Ministry by Pastor Ed Young

Others here maybe are disappointed with prayer. You’re saying, “You know Ed, I wanted something a long time ago and I prayed and prayed and prayed. And God did not give me what I wanted. So I just don’t pray that much. Now and then I might throw one up to heaven, but not that much.”

Others here would say, “Ed, I am a prayer warrior. I love prayer. I have these deep connections, these times with God. I journal my prayers and I have this thriving relationship with Jesus. And it’s a privilege that I have to talk to God in prayer.” I was 21 when I became a pastor. I was ordained into the ministry. I worked at a large church in another city, and my first assignment was to give the morning prayer during the 11:00 service. That was a big thing. This church was more traditional than ours.

It had a lot of pews, the giant throne chairs, the pipe organ, and they said, “Ed, you’ve got to bring your A-Game when you give the morning prayer. You’ve got to pray for this city, you’ve got to pray for the nation, our world. You’ve got to be on!” They were telling me, “We would suggest to you, Ed, that you write out your prayer.”

So I researched prayer and read all these cool prayer books. I had this prayer written out, and it was laminated on my Bible. Because when you gave the morning prayer, again, the sentence structure, the order of the prayer had to be just perfect. And then you always lead the congregation in the Lord’s Prayer. So I had that written out too, typed out on my Bible.

Decision in Life by Pastor Ed Young

Now, next time, we’re going to tackle something that is very, very tough to talk about.  “What happens when I begin to see the change that God makes in my life? What happens as I defer to the Holy Spirit of God? What happens as I listen to him?” Well, I will tell you what will happen.

All hell will break lose, because the devil is going to come after you and me because whenever you change, you have conflict. Yet, as you stay through the conflict; if you stay through the change, if you stay uncovered and walking in the covering of mercy and grace, you’ll have growth.  Change, conflict, growth.  That’s next time.

But here’s the good news:  I can’t change, you can’t change.  No one can truly change.  Only God can change your life and mine. Have you received that? Are you deferring to that? Are you walking in that? Because you have a choice, either living like this.  Trying to walk through life covered; or like this, uncovered.  I’ll choose like this any day.  How about you?

Prayer is interesting isn’t it? People pray. All sorts of people talk to God. Some see prayer as kind of a rabbit’s foot type situation. Maybe you see prayer as your lucky charm; you cover all your bases then you say, “Okay, now I’ll even pray.” And you pray before the big task or the big deal or when you board an airplane. And you do the microwave prayers and you want to get everything square with God before you undertake the pressure packed decision in your life.

My Family of Origin by Pastor Ed Young

Whenever we cover sin, here’s what we do:  We tend to blame others.  You know, “I’m the way I am because of my family of origin. I’m the way I am because my mother was meanpirited; my father was domineering.  I’m the way I am because of my friends. You know what? I’m the way I am because of my spouse. “The reason I’m sleeping in the wrong bed is because of you. You’re not meeting my needs. You’re not doing it for me.” And we play the blame game.

Have you ever played that when you’re trying to cover your sin? And then something else happens when we’re under here:  We invite others under the blanket with us, “Come on, come on.”  And I’m talking about those sinful sympathizers—those people who are also covering up stuff in their lives, and they help us be sinful sympathizers, “I would sleep around on your spouse, too, if she acted like that or if he did that. And you know, yeah, man you have to smoke weed at least three or four times a week.

That’s just what you do.  You’ve got to frequent those places. And yeah, it’s good to gossip and rip people apart.” Sinful sympathizers. Then on top of that, when we play the cover up game we begin to lie.  Think about it. When we’re covering, we can’t walk in the light.  We can’t discover the amazing things that God has for us.  We don’t know which way to go.  And we begin to lie.  We lie to God.  Our lives are a lie. It’s like, “Oh man this watch is expensive.  Oh, yeah, I’ve got it together.”  We lie.  We lie to God.  Then we lie to others.  We just live this lie and then we lie to ourselves.

Corporate World by Pastor Ed Young

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.

Well, what did God do?  God walked down the staircase of heaven with a baby in his arms to save us from the stairs, to be with us.  Jesus crawled out of the crib, lived perfectly, died sacrificially, and rose bodily.  Jesus didn’t just pose for the cameras and put on a hard hat and goggles and screw some bolts into a car or a truck.  He didn’t give us an illusion of identity.  He identified with us.  Emmanuel, God with us.  He lived on this earth to save us.

Have you ever thought about this?  Jesus had a family.  He had brothers and sisters.  He had aunts and uncles.  He knows what family drama is all about and those issues.Jesus also had a job.  In the corporate world, what did they call him?  They call him a carpenter.  Study carpentry in the ancient days.

If you were a carpenter and you took up the trade, you were responsible from the foundation to the finish out.  He understands pay disputes.  He understands weather delays.  Jesus is with us. How about on the emotional front?  He understands stress and anxiety.  He knows what it’s like for those who know him best to bolt on him in his deepest point of need.  One time Jesus was so stressed, the Scripture says, he sweated drops of blood.

God is Going to Look at People Who Matter to Him by Pastor Ed Young

I have done that for you and that’s your assignment.  You either receive me or not.” Most people of the world, we have heard the assignment, but we are busy working on our sketches.  We are busy doing our own thing. We say, “Yes, I hear the assignment but you know what?  I really like scientology.  I really enjoy Buddhism or humanism and this is what I am going to do.”

You might think that everything is cool right now and you might feel like everything is fine.  But one day, the Bible says, you are going to face the Lord.  He is going to ask you for this specific assignment.  Some of us are going to say, “Well, here is my sketchbook.”

God is going to look at people who matter to him and say, “You know what?  You knew what I wanted you to do.  You knew the choice that was hanging in the balance but instead of doing that deal and making that choice, you went your own way.  You had your own way on earth, now you are going to have your own way in eternity.”

A very pluralistic and relativistic world does not like to hear that.  Truth is specific, friends.  It’s very specific.  It’s like this morning.  I told our three youngest to make up their beds and clean their rooms.  That’s specific.  Truth is narrow.  I went down and checked the rooms and the twins had cleaned their rooms okay.  I walked in E.J.’s room, and E.J. is just standing there playing some computerized game, some advanced whatever gameboy. I said, “E.J., I asked you…no, I didn’t ask you, I told you to clean your room and I told you to make your bed, very specific.

God Wants Me to Reconnect by Pastor Ed Young

God knew we would say, well, give me an example!  Show me the importance of rhythm.  God said, I’m it.  I’m your example.  I made the heavens and the earth; it took me about a chapter.  Six days; Genesis 1.  That was kinda funny.  In Genesis 2, God said, he looked at everything then he rested on the seven.  We’re to get into God’s groove.  We’re to feel his rhythm.  Six and one; six and one; six and one; we’re made for rhythm.

I’ve got to ask you a question; are you taking a day of (Ed beats symbol) rest?  God knew the tendency that we’d all have to relegate and orbit our lives around work.  He knew the tendency that we would have to become obsessed with the market place; obsessed with our careers.  Workaholicism is an accepted addiction.  People brag like, “man, I’ve not taken a vacation in like three years”.  Macho, macho man!  I wanna be a macho – what is up with that?  (audience chuckles)  You’re out of beat; you’re out of rhythm.  You’re making noise, you’re not making music.  This is foreign to a lot of people.  Wait a minute, Ed, you mean, you mean God wants me to recalibrate; God wants me to reconnect; God wants me to take a day of (Ed hits symbol) – yes!

Today’s message is more about your concept of God than it is a certain day.  Because a lot of us have a hard time realizing, understanding the fact, that when I take day off (Ed hits symbols) – God smiles, his heart beats fast, we’re in his rhythm and we can do some great stuff between the notes.  In those margins.

Talking to Believers by Pastor Ed Young

How many times have you heard that?  A squillion times.  And here is what is dangerous about some of the false teachers in our world today.  All they do is talk about just quality of life.  I’m talking about people who say they’re Christians.  The quality of life. Well yes, when we meet Jesus Christ we will have quality of life, but quality emerges from what?  It emerges from security.  We can’t have quality until we have security.  You can’t have quality, my friend, until your security is locked, until it’s down cold, until you know you’re heaven bound.

You can’t have it.  So don’t talk about quality without talking about security.  It is all about security.  You have never locked eyes with someone who is not an eternal creature.  Every person you see at the coffee shop, on the golf course, in the gym, here at Fellowship Church is an eternal being.  They’re going to either heaven or hell.  Hell is always growing. Number seven, hell is repentant.  People are repenting in hell.  “I’m sorry.  Forgive me.  I missed it.”

It is that forever feeling of you had the chance, you had the opportunity, you had the window but you said no.  And in hell we simply receive a greater measure of what we desired on this earth.  If we said hell yes here on earth, we live a hell yes existence separate from God.  With that forever feeling of knowing that we could have been in heaven.  Hell is repentant.

Do you live a life of repentance?  I’m talking to believers now, do you repent?  “Lord, forgive me for me selfishness.  Lord, forgive me for wanting comfort.  Lord, I’m sorry that I have not built relationships with people in my life who were saying hell yes.  Lord, forgive me for my attitude of not stepping up and stepping out.”