Archive for the ‘Ed Young’ tag
The omnipresence of God, that He wants to fulfill in your life, if you will let Him. So picture God with a giant comforter saying, “Here is My grace, here is My power, here is My peace that surpasses all understanding even when you are going through the deep, dark valley, I am here. I am right here.” There is a comforting aspect.
Another implication of the omnipresence of God, He is a companion in every situation. If you can, turn over to John 14 and I will read verses 16 and 17. While you are turning to this scripture reference, let me again make reference to my Israel trip. Once we touched our feet on the soil of Israel, we were met by a thirty-one year old guide by the name of Elan. And Elan, you’re talking about a companion in every situation, he went with us to every place from Tel Aviv to Tiberias, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, Masada, the Garden Tomb.
He even played basketball one night with us on the streets of Jerusalem. The man was a companion. He spoke three different languages. And I always felt confident and safe because he was a companion. He watched for the group, he made sure we were together at every meal, at every turn, at every place it was really crowded he watched for the pickpockets. He was right there.
You know when I face a challenge, I don’t want to face it alone, do you? There is something about having someone there, even if the person can’t really help, you want to have someone with you, a buddy. At least this person is there with me to give me moral support. Think of the support that we have with Jesus.
About six days ago I was in the valley of the shadow of death in Israel. Our guide told us that we were looking at the valley referred to in that Psalm. Talk about a serious valley, I mean we are talking straight down. I have never been to the Grand Canyon but surely it can’t be any more imposing than this. And we looked at this and we though, that is what David is talking about in the twenty-third Psalm. I walk through this valley of the shadow of death. An encouraging word to you and to me. When we walk through a valley, a dark time, a depressing time, we are not walking alone. And we should allow the Lord to comfort us. He is waiting to comfort us. He is everywhere and that is why we should come clean in regard to our sin. You know, when you confess your sin to God and say “God, hey, forgive me for lying”, God is not going to respond, “Oh I didn’t know you lied, unbelievable. You mean you lied, Ed, unbelievable, wow that’s a new one on me. Thanks for telling Me”. He doesn’t do that. God knows it. All we are doing when we confess our sins to God, is saying “God, hey, I am agreeing with what You already know. I blew it. I confess my sin, I turn from my sin and realize Your comforting grace.
A couple of years ago the staff gave Lisa and I a comforter for our king size bed. We love this comforter. It is a down comforter. And it comforts us when it gets cold. It is cozy. It is warm. And it has a great feeling to it. You take that feeling and you multiply that to the trillionth power and that is the comforting nature of God.
Then, we kind of lost all of our brainpower and reasoning. We lassoed the shark’s tail, and we began to drag this thrashing shark into the boat.
When this nine or ten foot bull shark hit the deck of the boat, we scattered. We all said this in unison, “I wonder what it’s like to be eaten by a fish?” Well, today, we’re gong to meet someone who knew the answer to that question. His name was Jonah. Jonah was eaten by a fish, and, amazingly, he lived to tell about it.
Jonah’s story is preserved for us in the Old Testament. And, I believe, God has given it to us in order to show us the do’s and the don’ts of negotiating the storms of life. I’m in a series called “The Perfect Storm.” We’ve said throughout this series that life is full of storms. What happens, though, when we cause the storm? What happens when, because of our behavior, a storm strikes? And, then, what happens when we do the wrong thing in the midst of the storm? Where is God? What’s He thinking? Do we have another shot at the deal, or what?
Let’s get up close and personal with Jonah. I think we can learn some things and download some things that can revolutionize our lives and the way we handle these storms.
If you have your Bibles, turn to the book of Jonah Chapter 1, and I’ll begin to read, “The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai.” We’re not sure by what medium or how this word came to Jonah. But God spoke to him. We’ve all felt God speaking to us. We’ve all felt the word of the Lord coming to us, maybe through a message, a song, a drama, a quiet time, or prayer. I don’t know, but we’ve all felt it before.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by sharks. Even before it was popular, before Jaws swam onto the silver screen, I loved these fish. During my lifetime, I’ve had the opportunity to swim with sharks, actually hold live sharks, and even catch several sharks.
And speaking of catching sharks, about fifteen years ago I went fishing with a close friend of mine, Bob Craig, from Houston. He had a boat called the Action III. We were off shore maybe seventeen or eighteen miles. We anchored next to a shrimp boat called The Chuck Wagon. After three hours on the ocean, it became the “Upchuck Wagon,” but that’s a whole other story.
Anyway, we were catching fish in the eight to twenty pound range, like the King Mackerel and Bonito. Being a shark lover, I brought my big game shark outfit with me. I took one of the fish we were catching, put in a couple of hooks, and chunked the entire fish overboard. I just had a feeling that there were sharks in the area.
This fish floated in the water for thirty minutes. We kind of forgot the fish was there, until, suddenly, the reel began to scream. We picked the reel up from the rod holder, strapped my harness on my back, hooked it into the reel and I was locked into a behemoth of a shark.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever stood up and fought something stronger than you. But this fish was so big that I had my uncle actually hold me from behind, so I would not go overboard. We fought this fish for well over an hour in the triple degree Texas heat. Finally, we got it close to the boat. And, to my amazement, my friend Bob Craig pulled out a gun and began firing shots at this big bull shark, subduing it somewhat.
Also, realize something else. Realize that God cares. God cares for you. Mark Chapter 4, verse 38: “The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’” I’ve said that before in storms. Haven’t you? “God, do you really care? I mean, come on, God, I don’t really feel you right now. I can’t really see you right now. Do you really care?” I hope you didn’t miss what I just said. I didn’t “feel” you right now. We get all focused on feelings and, often times, we miss God.
Yes, our relationship with God brings forth great feelings. Often times, though, it does not. Sometimes we don’t have that “feeling.” We just need to be obedient and follow the Lord. We need to realize that He cares for us, and then, as we do what the Word says, the feelings will follow. Christianity is not something we just feel our way into. “Well, if I feel a quiver in my liver, if I feel it, then it must be God.” NO! You could have had some bad Domino’s pizza last night. That doesn’t mean that. Remember God cares.
I like what the master angler, Simon Peter, said about storms. He said, “Cast all you anxiety [all of you storm stuff] on Him, because He cares for you.” For many of us, right now, going through difficult times, difficult storms, we need to cast our anxiety daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes minute by minute, on Him. Why? He cares for you.
Does God give up? Does He say, “Too bad, you messed up.” No, He doesn’t. God will restore us. Ed Young said God will forgive us. But then God wants us to do what He says in His employee handbook. He wants us to get serious about avoiding those occupational hazards, oftentimes those subtle traps of temptation.
C3 Global states that now, before I tell you how to do that, I want to stop and ask you a very important question. Do not miss what I am going to ask you. The stakes are sky high. What temptation right now is Satan making look very, very alluring for you? What trap, what methodology, what scheme, what strategy is looking so good that you are thinking about doing it? What is it?
Against the backdrop of that question and your answer, I want to give you some ways to avoid the trap of temptation, not temptation, the trap of temptation.
First, recognize the power and strategy of Satan. Satan’s power is second only to God’s. He is not present everywhere. He is not all-knowing. His power is limited, but it is second behind the Lord’s power. I John 4:4. “Greater is He who is in you than he who is of the world.” Ed Young C3 Conference states that if you are a Christ-follower, recognize that He is in you. Recognize the power and the strategy. Know that he has a strategy to take you down every single day of your life. He is patient. He just waits. He attacks when you are high, when you are low, in your strength and in your weakness.
Now some people become paranoid. They see the devil behind everything. You have got to chill if that is you. Ed Young said the Greater is He who is in you than who is in the world. We are going to do a series next that is called THE END.
C3 Global Leadership – I will be talking about the end of time. I have got some good news for you. If you are worried about Revelation or Daniel, guess what. If you are a Christian, we win. How is that for you. We win!
If you have got a mind, a couple of ears and a mouth, you can become a great communicator. It is interesting. Great marriages and bad marriages all face the same issue, communication. But what separates the great ones from the not so great ones is obvious. The great ones have husbands and wives who work at it, who tackle this task tenaciously. Those who have sorry marriages for some reason don’t work at communication. They throw their hands up in the air and say that is just the way it is.
Last weekend C3 Global launched this series of talks called 4KEEPS – Keeping Creativity In Your Marriage. We found out that marriages that really have it going on are made up of spouses who maintain a tireless MWE, a tireless marital work ethic. We also said that to carry forth a tireless marital work ethic, you need creativity. I defined marital creativity as innovative action for qualitative growth. No area in marriage needs innovative action, creativity and work like communication. So goes communication, so goes conflict resolution. So goes communication, so goes sex. So goes communication, so goes intimacy and romance and so on.
Bring back a verse of scripture that I used to open today’s message. This text gives us several communicative options that are out there for the taking for husbands and wives. Let me push the pause button and say something to single adults. Hey, singles, this series is for you. Quite frankly, I meet too many of you who come to the altar ill prepared and clueless as to what it takes to have a great marriage. Ninety-four percent of you will get married at least once. That is what research has revealed. Let’s say, for example, that you are part of the six percent who never get married. Ed bet you know a married person or two. You can give them counsel. You can give them direction. Also, this stuff will help your speaking and listening skills around the office, the apartment complex, at play, whatever.