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And I felt some negativity and resentment. I felt my heart being hardened. And I talked to a friend of mine, who’s a Christian counselor, and he said, “Ed, do you know what you’re doing? You’re allowing this person to rent cheap space in your mind.”
Who are you allowing to rent cheap space in your mind? That’s a good question. I canceled the debt. I don’t particularly like the person. I love him in Christ. I know Jesus loves him and Jesus has forgiven him. But we’re not best friends. So he continues, when Jesus talks about forgiveness and canceling the debt, and when I talk about it, I’m not saying you become buddies with them and hang out with them. I’m not saying you have to run with them for the rest of your life. No, no, no, no, no. Jesus also said to be wise as serpents and as harmless as a dove. You know, you touch the stove, it burns your hand. You don’t go, “Oh, I’ll touch it again.”
What Jesus is saying, “If someone burns you (and we’ve all been burned), cancel the debt.” You’re freeing yourself up. You’re being able to walk in liberation. You’re able to throw negativity and resentment away from your life, and you can discover who God wants you to be. That’s why Jesus said in the model prayer, Matthew 6, “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors….” See the connectivity between God and fellow man? It’s a vertical and horizontal situation.
“Okay,” you’re saying, “I see the promise of forgiveness. I see that I’m to know it, believe it, and act upon it. Well, how do I do that? I feel like I’m sitting on the premises instead of standing on the promise. How do I stand on the promise of forgiveness? How do I put action behind it?”
Endurance can be defined as the ability to crash through quitting points.
Question Three: Can I be a Christian and go to heaven without being baptized? When people ask me that question, I wonder where they are coming from. I want to say, “Let me get this straight. You are telling me that you understand the fact that Jesus dies an excruciating death on the cross, spilled His blood for your sins past, present, and future. He took your eternal condemnation on your shoulders. Then He rose again and now offers you the free gift of eternal life. You have received that free gift and yet you will not obey Him by walking up the steps of a tiny platform and letting some pastor dunk you for a nanosecond? And you are telling me you are a Christian?”
If you are saying on the one hand that you are a Christian but you will not follow Him in obedience regarding baptism, I have got to wonder if you are really a Christian. I challenge you to look in the mirror. Math doesn’t work. That doesn’t compute. And for many people here, as I am talking, you wonder what might be holding you back spiritually. You may wonder if it is a sin, a habit. But in many situations, it is baptism.
If you have not been baptized as a believer, you are shaking your little fist in the face of the Creator and saying that you will go your own way. You will do your own thing. You will forge your own future. You may accept the gift of salvation, but refuse to follow Christ in obedience. Baptism is the first obedience test in the Christian life.
Question Four: How should I be baptized? Some churches sprinkle, some pour, some dunk. How? We always say, “What does the Bible say?” The word “baptize” in the Greek means “to dip, to immerse.”
Too many couples just whine to each other. Wow, after a steady diet of that, you can smell the spoiled fish.
with God? Like in, in weird places? Like you’re taking a shower; like whoa, oh, oh, that was incredible idea. You towel off and man, you want to write it down. That’s incredible. Whoa! (some audience laughter) When you’re driving in your car. Whoa! Oh, I’ve gotta pull over. (Ed gestures) That’s unbelievable. Playing golf. (Ed gestures) That’s it. This is _______________; this is cool, yeah! You have cool ideas about your walk with God spiritually; about your marriage; about relationships; about your kids; about your career; about starting another company or about your team or whatever. Why do we have those ideas in relaxed state? Again, all these brain experts are telling us what God has known for thousands of years. They say, well, those are fade a waves. And that’s true, fade a waves hit the coast line of our conscienceus when we’re in a relaxed state. When we’re all hiked out by playing (Ed plays the drums) wipe out. He thinks that we can’t hear those ideas from God. We can’t feel those innovations. We don’t understand those ideas but when we’re in a relaxed state the fade a waves hit the coast line of our consciousness and we have these ideas; these angle’s for life. That’s when God speaks to us.
Again, he asks, when was the last time you spent a couple of hours starring into space. It might be your most productive time. When was the last time you took a long walk alone? When was the last time you called one of your Peter, James, and John friends and talked about last weekend and just told the same story you’d heard told 50 times but you laughed so hard tears came out of your eyes. God smiles when we do that. It was reflected in the verse Leviticus 23, to put in modern day vernacular God was commanding them to have these big honking massive, camp fire concert, two week feast type parties with friends. With people who love God. That’s what God was saying. We have a hard time with that. Physically, spiritually, emotionally, solitude, taking that day six and one, six and one, six and one, six and one, six and one.
We can share the tough things but let’s share some good stuff. Let’s build and benefit each other.
Great news! A wealthy relative has left you $100 million! You can’t access it, though, until you’re 60. But that’s some pretty good news. I’ve got some better news for you. Everyone in the place is 25. You’re 25 and when you reach 60, you’ll get the $100 million. But the downside is, you’ve got to wait 35 years. 35 years to scratch out a living, 35 years until you inherit the big kahuna.
But let’s just say, because we’re talking hypothetically, that the trust was written in such a way that you could access the wealth today. Let’s say at 25, you could begin to live off 5% of the interest, which would be about $5 million a year. So, you’re rich, you’re wealthy. $5 million a year. You could make that when you’re 25, 26, 27, and then when you’re 60, you could inherit the big kahuna! Would that be off the chain, or what? I mean, if that happened to me, I would do anything possible to access that kind of money.
Wouldn’t it be horrible, though, to get to 60 and have a bunch of attorneys look at you say, “Hey, you could’ve accessed that money for 35 years! You could’ve lived off the interest. You could’ve made $5 million a year, but you didn’t talk to the right people. You didn’t know who you are. You didn’t know whose you are, and you didn’t really understand what you had. So, man, you blew it. Yeah, you’re 60 and you’ve got the big money now. But, it could’ve been unbelievable for 35 years.” That would not be a happy scenario, would it?
Let’s face it—a lot of us are living in spiritual poverty. We don’t know who we are, whose we are, and what we have. We don’t know the wealth that we have access to. We don’t know the kind of currency that’s available for us. Our gracious God has so many things in store for us because of who we are, whose we are, and what we have. But many times, we walk around and we are clueless regarding what’s available to us. We’re clueless concerning what God has for us. We’re clueless.
I have learned more in the fire than I do in the easy times. And that is just the way God designed it. God is not some masochistic God.
In our culture, though, we know how to give the empty yes, don’t we? You know, the “if something better comes along” yes; or the decaffeinated yes. We’ve taken yes and we’ve spayed it, we’ve neutered it, and we’ve hollowed it out. Yes doesn’t mean yes anymore. In our culture yes means maybe.
“Maybe I’ll stay with my spouse, but if someone better looking cruises by… Maybe I’ll stay with him, but if he says this or does that or doesn’t do that, I’m out! Maybe.”
Yes, no, maybe so. Let your yes be yes and your no be no.
Think about, just for a second, the last week. Think about how many times you’ve said yes—yes to God, or maybe no to him. How many times did you say yes to the important people in your life? To your mate? To your kids? How about your friends, the people you run with? What did you say yes to with them? Think about the choices, those moral intersections, those opportunities. Did you say yes?
We’re the net effect of yes and no. It is literally staggering to think about how often we say it. “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’” Jesus said. What should we say yes to? That’s a good question.
Say “Yes” To Establishing and Building a Deep and Dynamic Relationship with Jesus
For starters, we should say yes to Jesus. I was thinking about that. He gives us the ability to even say yes to him. We’re made in the image of God; God said yes to us. He placed man and woman in a perfect environment. It was nirvana. (I’m not talking about the band.) Yet we said no to God’s yes. We sinned. God said yes, we said no.
We’re fully physical and fully spiritual. We’re made in the image of God. We have a masculine aspect to us if we’re men, a feminine aspect to us if we’re women. Thus, when you have a man and woman, a husband and wife, in sexual intercourse on the marriage bed, you have reflected the nature and the character of God. You’ve got the masculine character qualities and the feminine character qualities both going on. When you’re joined together as you make love with your spouse, you can’t tell where one is and the other begins. Three in one, one in three; God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Three in one, one in three; coexistent, coeternal with one another.
But again, we’re having little sex. We don’t have big sex. Who are you lying to? Are you believing the culture? If so, then you’re having little sex. I’m talking about big sex in this series! If you want big sex, you better understand that you’re made in the image of your big God who wants the best for all of our lives. He wants the best sexually. This desire I have for God, for connectedness, is often reflected in the desire I have for the opposite sex. And I can carry it out in the marriage bed.
Genesis 1:31, “God saw all that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”
Now, here’s what C. S. Lewis said, “When you remove morals from the human equation, you remove humanity from the human equation.”
I’ll say it again—we are not animals. We are not animals.
Look at Genesis 2:18, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.’”
So he said, it’s good, it’s good, it’s very good. Now, he says, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper (don’t you like that word?) suitable for him.”
Now in Galatians 6 verses—whoa, something fell out of my Bible. Man, isn’t that wild? A section fell out. [Ed reads the slip of paper that fell out of his Bible] “Will a man rob God; yet, you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings.
“You’re under a curse, the whole nation of you, because you’re robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse. ‘Test me in this,’ says the Lord, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.’ ”
A lot of us rip this out of the Bible, don’t we? We put it over here and we say, “I believe in the Bible now. I mean, I believe what the Bible says about my forgiveness. And I believe what the Bible says about my forever. I believe what the Bible says about God’s plan and purpose for my life.”
Well, a lot of us need to take this and glue it right back into the Bible because money transcends everything we do. It’s the treasure test. So often in my life it’s tough to write the check; it’s tough to bring the tithe. I know what you’re saying.
A while back I invested in a company, and I’m not a big investment guy. I don’t know much about investing but a friend of mine said, “You need to invest in this company.” Well I thought, before I invest I want to at least know a little about the company. So I had another friend of mine find out about this company. And he called me back and said, “You know what Ed? I think it’s a pretty good investment.”
So when you click with someone at work, someone around the neighborhood, or someone at the health club, don’t just click with them and go, “Okay, see you later!” No, cultivate that relationship. You know? Talk to them. Just think thoughts in your mind like this, “What would it be like to spend more time with them alone?” Just think that. And then think this, “What would it be like to hold them? That’s not a bad thought. I’m alone with them. I’ll just hold them. That’s kind of innocent.”
But you can’t stop at something that’s innocent. Because remember, you’ve got to have an affair. I’m teaching you how to have an affair. So you then begin to drop some kind of flirtatious remarks. You drop those remarks and you see how the person takes them. “Oh, they responded. Wow!”
After a while you begin to drop hints to the person. You know those hints like, “Hey, if I were single – woo! Man your husband sure is fortunate.” All those little comments, you know? What would it be like just to go out to lunch with them alone? What would it be like to hold them? And then begin, it’s just fantasy, to say to yourself, “What would it be like to have relations with them? Sexual relations?”
You’ve thought about it. Just think about it more and more. And then all of a sudden, visions of romantic dinners and Caribbean cruises dance in your head. And throw in, to that whole mix, a little bit of a romance novel, a little bit of movies, and maybe a little soft porn, and you’re on your way. I’m telling you, you’re on your way to having an affair. It’s just a matter of time, because you’re cultivating this relationship. You’re talking to the person now and sharing stuff about your life. So convince yourself it’s not going to happen to you. Number two; cultivate the relationship with the third party.
It’s a cool word. Look behind the word. The word is the picture of someone with a glass, and another someone pouring liquid into the glass. And instead of that someone saying, “That’s enough, big fella,” the pitcher keeps pouring and pouring and pouring and spilling over the brim, spilling on your hand, spilling on the table, spilling in the kitchen.
You say you love Jesus? You say it? Well, are you obeying it? Are you obeying him? Are you following him? Because, if we are, we’re spilling love onto everyone. I should be spilling love onto Lisa, spilling love onto my kids, spilling love to people I come in contact with around the community, and spilling love to people when I travel. I’m always spilling love—this unconditional, one-of-a-kind, supernatural love.
I recently spent several days in Hawaii with my family because we were celebrating my father’s 70th birthday. And there was a guy staying in a condo beneath my parents, and he had some kids with him. I found myself talking to him one day, and I discovered he was from the northwest. And I’m thinking to myself, “Why am I even talking to him? This guy can’t do anything for me. I mean, why do I want to hear about his story? I’m on my vacation! Why am I doin’ this?”
And I began to feel this connectivity with him as he told me about his family and his life. And then I began to say to myself, “I know why. God has hooked us up together.”
This guy is far away from God. He does not know Christ, and I have this love for him that’s not love from me. Because in the natural, who gives a flying flip about him?