This and That
May 6-7, 2006
I’m standing in front of the National Treasury. What an incredible building. And behind this building, within these walls, people are doing some serious stuff. They’re managing the finances of our nation. And on top of that, they’re protecting the entire system of our currency. When you think about it, it’s all about the cantaloupes. Because all of us have a certain amount of cantaloupes. And in here, we’ve got some incredible cantaloupe management.
You know, the Bible says that God wants to bless all of our lives, and we all have a certain amount of cantaloupes. It’s time that we understand the fact that we’re managers, not owners. And when we manage in God’s way, just what’ll happen? He will protect us and bless our lives.
[End Video; Ed comes out on stage]
Sometimes I walk up to people and say, “What have you been doing?” And they’ll respond by saying, “Oh, this and that.” This and that. That’s a unique statement, isn’t it? This and that.
What does someone mean when they say, “This and that”? Have your Bibles open to the book of Genesis, if you have one. Genesis 12:1-3. I’ll read; you follow along. “The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household.’” Say “Father’s household,” with me. Father’s household. “And go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Say “I will” with me. I will.
What did God say to Abraham? “Abraham, leave your land, your father’s household. Leave this, and I’ll give you that.” This and that. “Abraham, I have some incredible that to give you. I’m gonna bless your socks off and back. You leave this, and I’ll give you that.” What did Abraham do? What did Abraham do?
Because Abraham had some serious cantaloupes. He was mega-wealthy. The Bible said he was “heavy with gold and silver. Heavy with cattle.” Picture a Fortune 500 company in your mind’s eye. God said, “Leave this, and I’ll give you that.” Abraham discovered something that I discovered a long time ago. Partial obedience is problematic. Partial obedience is really disobedience. Abraham didn’t really leave all of this to get to that. He took a lot of this with him on his way to try to get to that.
The Bible says in Proverbs 3, beginning with verse 5, these words—and this has been kind of our foundational text over these sessions. It says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
What is this? This—I’ve gotta trust. That’s the this. I trust God. What does it mean to trust? It means to weigh in with everything we’re about. I trust God. If I do this, if I trust Him, God will do that. He’s gonna make my path straight. Read here, “He’ll make your paths smooth.”
Verse 7, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” And then it says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth,” read here “cantaloupes,”“with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” This and that. I trust God. That’s the this. And I’m gonna get the that—my paths will be straight.
I don’t rely on what I see. I rely on what God has said. I honor God with my cantaloupes. I do this and God will give me that. My barns will be blessed. My vats will be full of wine. I do this and then God will give me that.
It’s very interesting to look at all the different promises in the Bible, all the covenants. Some are unconditional. Others, though, are conditional. In the conditional covenants, it’s all about this and that. God says, “You do this and I’ll give you that.” The Bible says we do this when we’re searching for a spouse, and we will have that. But I know a lot of singles who were carrying around a lot of this to try to get to that, and you’ll never get to that, because you have too much of this in your life. Did that make sense?
Abraham did not fully leave everything behind. He kept some stuff with him. God said, “Leave your country.” God said, “Leave your father’s household.” What did Abraham do? Abraham was clinging to the cantaloupes. He had a lot of this to try to get to that. If you’ve got a lotta this with you, you can never get to that because, look, you’re not in a position to receive anything. Nor am I. Nor was Abraham.
What was Abraham holding onto? A lot of this.
Do you remember Lot? His nephew, what was Abraham doing hanging out with Lot? God told him, “Hey, leave your father’s household.” He didn’t do it. He brought Lot with him, and Lot caused him some serious drama and trauma. Lot was super-wealthy as well.
Picture again, now two Fortune 500 companies making their way through the middle of the Middle East, traveling around. There were some anxieties, some stress between the two camps. Abraham said, “Wait a minute, Lot, wait, wait. Let’s just split. You have first choice. You go this way. And, if you go this way, I’ll go the opposite.” So Lot went his way. And the Bible said that Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom.
I have a whole message on that. Unbelievable. He knew how wicked Sodom was. And Lot said, “Well, you know, I’m not gonna move there, but I’m gonna move toward there. I’m gonna stay on the outskirts of Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Well, Abraham went the opposite way and, again, Abraham tried to take a lot of this to try to get to that. And Lot caused him drama and trauma. Four kings and their men took Lot and all of his money captive. Abraham had to chase them down. Abraham finally rescued Lot, made even more money. And Scripture, “Then Abraham saw this figure, the high priest of God, named Melchizedek.” Melchizedek. Melchizedek, many scholars feel, was a representative of Jesus Christ, an Old Testament representative of Jesus.
Some scholars feel like it was actually…Melchizedek was a pre-incarnate image of Jesus. And if you look at the word “Melchizedek,” that name, and then read about it in the Hebrew, it means “write the check.” You know I’m playing with you. I saw someone go, “Oh, really, write the check. That’s interesting.”
When our boy Abraham saw Melchizedek, you know what he did? He brought Melchizedek the best. The Bible said he brought God’s portion to Melchizedek, lovingly and generously and strategically. He wasn’t clinging to the cantaloupes as much. He still had a lot of this, but he was doing some stuff right. Partial obedience is disobedience. Yet God is teaching Abraham a serious lesson here. He gave a lot of stuff to Melchizedek.
Well, the plot clots, and let’s have our Bibles again and turn to the book of Genesis 14:19-20. Here is Melchizedek taking to Abraham. “He blessed Abram, saying, ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.’” Then Abraham gave him a tenth of everything.” A tenth of everything.
Abraham realized how blessed he was. What does it mean to be blessed? It means to be on the receiving end of the tangible and intangible favor of God. Whenever you see the word “faith” or “trust” in the Bible, somewhere around it, you’ll see something tangible. Your soul and my soul is intangible, but it’s influenced by the tangible. God always tests us with the tangible.
Abraham had all of these cantaloupes. The guy was super-wealthy. God tested him. God tested him. Abraham, though, was still clinging to the cantaloupes. Yeah, he’d kinda shaken Lot off him, but he still had a lot of this to try to get to that.
Abraham was married to a Biblical babe. His wife must have been absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. Her name was Sarah, and if you read more and more about his life, you’ll see some interesting things. I’m just giving you the Cliff’s Notes today. But Sarah was something else. God had promised Abraham, “Abraham, I’m gonna bless you. I will. I will. I will. I will.” Do you remember that? You repeated that phrase, “I will.” There’s no way that we can initiate God’s “I will” until we do his will. We do this to get to that.
God said, “Abraham, I’m gonna bless you.” And through Abraham, we know, the nation of Israel occurred. Through the nation of Israel, we have the Messiah, Jesus Christ. And through Jesus Christ, you’ve got you and me. So God said, “Abraham, I’m gonna bless you.” Yet Abraham couldn’t have any kids. His wife Sarah was infertile, a problem that many, many young couples are dealing with today.
Well, partial obedience is problematic. It’s disobedience. Do you know what Sarah did? You won’t believe this. Sarah had a beautiful maid. Her name was Hagar. And I looked up Hagar. Hagar was the great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother of Sammy Hagar. [Laughter] Fascinating.
So, anyway, she came up to Sarah, and she said…I mean Sarah came up to Hagar and said, “Hagar, listen. Have relations with Abraham, because if you have relations with him, I know you’ll get pregnant, and he’ll have a family, and he’ll have someone to give his great wealth to.” Blah, blah, blah. Partial obedience is disobedience. God never blesses stuff like that. Abraham and Hagar got together and Hagar had a child.
So think about it. Abraham was trying to get from this to that, but he had a lot of this, and he had too much of Hagar to try to get to that. And once Hagar had Ishmael, you’re talking about the quintessential catfight, Sarah and Hagar. Ladies, just think about that. Wow. Abraham was messed up, wasn’t he? Partial obedience will lead to disobedience. Partial obedience is problematic.
However, full court obedience will lead to favor and faith and living in the zone. God is a patient God. Even though we mess up, even though we sin, even though we try to bring a lot of this to get to that, God still blesses us. And God’s withholding the that in Abraham’s life. He’s given him a little of that, but He wants to rain that all over him. But because he has too much of this, God’s holding it back.
But God always tests us, doesn’t He? A faith cannot really be trusted unless the faith has been tested. Let’s check it out. Genesis 17:1-2. This’ll blow you away. “When Abram was 99 years old,” I mean that’s old, “the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.’” Now isn’t that interesting? He’d already messed around with Hagar, and now God’s saying, “Okay, Abraham, walk with integrity, brother. Live the life. You can’t have a lot of this to get to that. Follow me. You do this, I’ll give you that.” He said, “Walk before me. Be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”
God wants to bless your life and mine. Two days ago, I had an opportunity. This was a real blessing. I had the chance to have coffee with Bono for like an hour and a half in a hotel. I love U2, and Bono’s representatives called me and asked if I could come down to talk to him. I said, “Let me think about it. Yes.” And I rushed down there, and Bono was very interesting, very engaging, very nice guy. We were talking about Christianity, and Bono told me, he said, “You know, Christianity is not about the bless me club. It’s not about the holy huddle. It’s about others.” I said, “Bono, you’re exactly right, brother. It’s about others. It’s about others.”
So we don’t do this stuff. We don’t live this life. We don’t bring the cantaloupes just for God to bless us. “Oh, it’s just all about being blessed. It’s just about blessed and blessed.” When I am blessed, like Abraham was blessed, when you are blessed like Abraham was blessed, you’re blessed. I’m blessed to be a blessing. So we get outside of ourselves, outside of the Holy Huddle, outside of the bless me club, and do what God wants us to do. And the result of that is we’ll get a lot of that.
So God said, “Abraham, I’m gonna bless you and Sarah with a child. You are gonna have a baby.” Abraham was like, “Man, I’m too old.” God said, “Wait a minute. You can have a baby.” So, sure enough, Sarah got pregnant. She had Isaac, the apple of Abraham’s eye. The firstborn, the firstborn. Isaac grew. Abraham was so excited. Everything was just cruising along. It was amazing. Then God tests Abraham. Now, think about Abraham’s life. Way back there, he was clinging to the cantaloupes, clinging to Lot, clinging to Hagar. Now he’s walking the walk.
God said, “Abraham, Abraham.” Abraham was like, “Yes, Lord.” God said, “Abraham, go to Mount Moriah and sacrifice Isaac to Me. Do it for Me.” Wow, we’re testing the tangibles. What did Abraham do? Did he cling to the cantaloupes? No, no, no. The Bible said, “Abraham got up, took Isaac to Mount Moriah,” and he was just getting ready to take his son’s life, when God said, “Stop.” And God provided a ram whose horns were caught in the brush, and Abraham took Isaac off the altar, put the ram in his place, sacrificed the ram, and Abraham named the place “God will provide.”
Partial obedience is problematic. Total obedience is all about the provision of God. God always tests you and me. He tests us in a tangible way. He tests us with our cantaloupes. Are we clinging it or are we bringing it? That’s the question. To cling or to bring. To cling or to bring. We all have cantaloupes. Different size piles of cantaloupes. We all have tangible stuff. Are we living the life? Are we doing the stuff or not?
God says, “You do this, and I’ll give you that.” What is this in your life? Maybe you need to stay away from this. Run from this. Maybe you’re trying to carry a lot of this to get to that. What do you need to do in order to get to that? How about your resources? How about the tangible stuff in your life? Have you weighed in totally for God? Are you trusting God with all of your heart, with all of your soul?
Are you going by what you see or by what God has said? Because if we go by what we see, our paths are not gonna be straight. If we go by what God has said and trust Him, we will have a straight path, a smooth path, and we will receive that into our lives. So it’s either this or that. This or that.
We have an amazing opportunity before us, don’t we, at Fellowship Church? This weekend is commitment weekend for this amazing thing that God has put before us. We have an opportunity to commit to give, over 24 months, to our uptown campus and also this incredible, incredible camp that God has placed before us.
If you’re not a part of Fellowship Church, just sit and listen. You can count ceiling tiles or whatever. But it’s our time as a church to pray and to think and to commit to do this deal. We have the firepower right now to pay for this. And I’m talking about a $20 million project, over and above our regular giving. We all have cantaloupes, different sized piles of cantaloupes. And for some here, over 24 months, over and above your regular tithe, a thousand dollars might be a monstrous gift to you. That could be the best gift we receive here. It might be.
For others here, a million dollars is not even showing up for you. Maybe you have $20 million, $30 million in your portfolio, and maybe it’s $2 million, I don’t know. The amount is not what’s significant. It’s what’s left over. God has blessed me. God has blessed you. Why are you blessed? Why am I blessed? As I said last week, you’re not that smart. I know a lot of you who are successful. You’re not that brilliant, and I know I’m not, because you know me if you hang around here. It’s the blessings of God. I’m blessed to be a blessing.
Do we enjoy the cantaloupes? Sure we do. God wants us to. But we’re to bring to the local church what is His. God gave us His best, His firstborn, His firstfruits. Who was that? Jesus. Where did He direct His gift? The local church. The hope of the world is all about the church. It’s not about legislation. It’s not about education. It’s about transformation. And we have an opportunity, friends, to step up and to weigh in and to trust God, and to do something that few churches have ever done.
And I’m talking about to get outside of ourselves, outside of the bless me club, as Bono said, outside of the holy huddle and think about others and do the stuff.
Do you think this stuff just appeared out of nowhere at Fellowship Church? People before you stepped up and brought some serious cantaloupes to make this deal happen. We planned this church for you. We planned Fellowship Church for people who haven’t shown up yet.
God’s blessed my life. As I told you, recently I signed the biggest book deal of my life. I got a large advance. When I signed it, God said, “Give it to Town and Country.” Then on top of that, God said, “Match that, Ed, from your savings.” And then this week, as I fasted and prayed, God said, “Add some more stuff to it.” So that’s what I’m doing, and I’m thrilled to do it. You can’t argue with God. It would cause my accountant to have palpitations if I told her what I was doing.
Why are you blessed? To do deals, recreate, procreate and die? You mean that’s the meaning of your life? Wow, that’s deep. That’s awesome. It’s all about the local church.
So what does God want you to do? If you’re seated on my left to your right on the end, you’ll see an envelope with a card in it. And make sure everyone on your row gets one. You don’t have to fill this out, but make sure everyone gets one. We’re gonna take some time just to go through these cards and to fill these cards out. If you’d do that.
Now, if Fellowship Church is not your church, do this at the church where you show up. But weigh in, in the tangible. It’s about the greatest thing out there. We provided a little chart for you to kinda chart out your giving. Just give us your name, address, city, etc. Maybe you wanna give weekly for 104 weeks. Maybe it’s monthly. Maybe it’s annually. Maybe you wanna give through stocks, bonds, real estate. I don’t know.
People sometimes wonder, “Well, how do you guys pay for all this stuff?” This is how. This is it. And what was so amazing about Friday, when I spent some time with Bono, I gave him one of these cards. So I’m really excited to see what he’s gonna give. Hope you know I would not do that, but it did go through my mind.
And if you’d total up your gift, it could be a thousand. It could be fifty thousand. It could be a million. It could be whatever. I don’t know how God has blessed you.
You’re blessed. I’m blessed to be a blessing. And some of you here have never gotten into God’s divine economic cycle, which is the most amazing, really, place to fall into, to be in the blessed place. But maybe you’re saying, “Ed, I don’t wanna cling, I wanna bring.” And God is basically saying, “Bling it on.” I’m sorry, I mean, “Bring it on.” That’s what he’s saying.
Next weekend, we’re gonna start this whole giving campaign over and above our regular gifts, and we’re gonna begin with a cash gift. So, for example, if your commitment is a thousand dollars over two years, or maybe it’s a million dollars, try to write the largest check you possibly can next weekend or the next weekend to start this off. And that’s what Lisa and I are gonna do. If you can kinda know what that check’s gonna be, you can write that out as well. After you’ve filled it out completely, if you’d do this: you take this card, put it in the envelope, seal it and drop it right in one of these baskets down front. We’ll have ‘em down the aisles, up in the balcony. And we want to give you time to bring your commitments and drop them off in the basket.
Please do not leave. That’s the height of rudeness. The spirit of God is moving here. If you were at a Mavericks game, you wouldn’t leave if there were two minutes to go and the Mavericks were behind by one. You’d be right there, “Yeahhhhhhhh.” Well, man, we have an opportunity to do business with the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. This’ll be the most exciting time of the service. If you’re not excited about it, don’t do it.
The Bible says, “God loves a cheerful giver.” The word “cheerful” in the Greek is pronounced hil-ar-ios. Isn’t that cool? Forget the word hilarious. It’s like, “God, You bless me so much. I can’t out give You. I can’t. It’s all yours anyway.” You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead. You can invest in eternity. How do you do that? Through the local church. “The gates of hell will not prevail,” Jesus said, “against the church.”
I’m gonna have a prayer and following the prayer, as the Spirit of God moves, you get out of your seat, come forward or go to the aisles, and drop your commitment in the basket. Return quietly to your seat. Continue to pray for God’s church to step up. Again, if you’re not a part of Fellowship Church, if you’re visiting here, this should show you how much we love you and how much you matter to us. That’s why we’re doing this.
Father, thank you for this opportunity. Lord, right now, bless this time. Honor this time. Some here, God, need to give thousands. Others tens of thousands. Others hundreds of thousands. Some here, God, I believe need to give millions. You blessed us to be a blessing. We realize we can’t bless until we’ve been blessed. We’ve been blessed, God. And right now, we give to the greatest thing out there, your local church. Thank you for town, and thank you for country, and thank you for this opportunity to be here where you’re working. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
You know, as many people are coming and bringing their commitments, you continue to respond. You know, thinking about Abraham’s life, it’s almost as if God draped his arm around him and said, “Abraham, imagine what’s gonna happen through your life. I bless you to be a blessing.” And just think about the impact that Abraham’s life had once he totally left this to get to that. Think about the that. Think about Jesus. Think about our salvation. Think about the investment piece that Abraham learned. He knew it was not about ownership. It was simply management. And because of that, God blessed him. And Genesis 15:1, after Abraham had brought God his portion, God came to him in a vision, and God said, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
So we thank God for this time, for this opportunity that we have to do business with Him. Right now we’re going to receive our tithes, and I’m gonna ask our worship team to come and sing a song about that. So you bring those tithes as God leads.