Clueless: Stumped: Transcript




Ed Young

September 9, 2006

A while back, I was fishing and I was cruising in this boat. I use the word “boat” loosely because it was part Styrofoam®, part plastic. All of a sudden, the boat came to a screeching halt. I had no idea what the problem was. My friend and I, who were both in the boat, did what most experienced boatmen would do. We began to rock the boat back and forth. That didn’t work. We cranked the motor up. That didn’t work. We began to paddle furiously. That didn’t work either. We were stuck out in the middle of the lake, hung up on something.




Ed Young

September 9, 2006

A while back, I was fishing and I was cruising in this boat. I use the word “boat” loosely because it was part Styrofoam®, part plastic. All of a sudden, the boat came to a screeching halt. I had no idea what the problem was. My friend and I, who were both in the boat, did what most experienced boatmen would do. We began to rock the boat back and forth. That didn’t work. We cranked the motor up. That didn’t work. We began to paddle furiously. That didn’t work either. We were stuck out in the middle of the lake, hung up on something.

This lake was kind of like a swamp with the coffee-black water, the moss floating around, water moccasins, and a few alligators. I decided to do something. And I did this because I wanted to free the boat up. I curled my toes over the bow of the boat and jumped into the water.

And when you’re in the water, especially coffee-black water, you get that creepy feeling. And you start wondering what’s underneath, lurking, looking, ready to take your leg off or something. So, I began to feel underneath this craft, to feel what it was that was hanging us up. And I felt it. It was a giant stump that had the boat impaled. And the more we rocked, the more we paddled, the more we cranked the engine, the bigger the hole became. We were in a difficult situation.

Maybe you find yourself like that. Are you boat-like as you would think about, for example, your marriage? Would you say, “My marriage is stuck. I’m stuck. I’m hung up in my marriage. There’s no connectivity. There’s no real intimacy. I’m stuck.”

Maybe you’re in a dating relationship, and you don’t feel like you’re really known. You don’t feel like you’re experiencing true community with the person. Down deep, you’re saying, “Ed, I’m stumped! I’m hung up.”

Maybe you’re tyrannized by fear or anxiety. Maybe everywhere you turn, you sort of feel like you’re stressed out. You, too, would say, “I’m stumped! I’m hung up.”

Maybe financially, you’re drowning in debt and you feel like you’re going under, and you have one more breath. You’re saying, “I’m hung up. I’m stumped.”

It’s interesting when we look at our lives, because basically we have two levels. There’s the surface level—that’s where we rock the boat and paddle furiously and crank the motor up to get off this limb, this underwater stump. That’s the surface. Then there’s something deeper—the subsurface issues. And so often, we just deal with the surface stuff and never really get down to the subsurface.

Well, I’m in a series of talks on the promises of God. I’m calling it “Clueless” because so many of us are clueless regarding the promises of God. And we’ve learned in this series that God loves us irrationally and unconditionally. We can stand on that promise. We’ve learned that God forgives us. He forgives our faults and failures. He gives us a mulligan. And that’s awesome news. Last time, from this stage and also in Miami, I talked about the fact that God is everywhere. There is nowhere that God is not, and the presence of God is promised to us.

Well, today we look at the fact that Jesus is our deliverer. Say that with me—Jesus is my deliverer! He’s done the work for deliverance. So no matter what your hang-up, what your habit; no matter what stump has you impaled, I’ve got great news for you. Jesus is your deliverer.

A lot of us know that. Many of us believe that. But so often, we’re not really acting upon the fact that we are delivered. We’re still on the surface, rocking the boat, paddling, cranking the motor up; yet, we’re still hung up. Well I want to challenge you to do something. I want to challenge you to do what I did. I’m going to challenge you to curl your toes over the bow, jump into the coffee-black water and find out, and to label that stump that has you impaled.

You remember the children of Israel? They were in that spin cycle of rebellion. They would sin and go away from God. Then God would send a prophet to speak truth. The prophet would speak truth to them, and the Bible says they would tear their garments as a sign of repentance. They would say, “God, we’re going to turn back to you.”

And for a while they would. Then they would go back into sin. God would send another prophet. They would tear their garments. I mean, they had some nice Puma t-shirts torn to shreds.

Finally, though, God sent Joel. And here’s what Joel said before the entire nation. Joel 2:13: “Don’t tear your clothing in your grief; instead, tear your hearts.”

What was he driving at? He was saying, “You don’t have a garment problem. You’ve got a heart issue. You’ve got a sin problem.”

And many times we say, “Well, I’ve got issues. I’ve got these habits, these hindrances, these hang-ups.”

Let’s go ahead and call them what they are—sin. S-I-N. I’m talking about a homemade from depravity, sin. Sin will mess your life up and mess my life up. And many times those are the stumps that are impaling your life and mine. Those are the stumps that are keeping us from really cruising along the wake of life.

The book of Lamentations 3:40—I’m sure you were probably reading Lamentations this afternoon. Lamentations 3:40 says, “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.”

So, today we’re going to do that. We’re going to examine our ways and test them. We’re going to go subsurface and look at some stumps, some things that have us, maybe, impaled.


The first one I want you to feel for—-and maybe the Holy Spirit will tell you this is operative in our life—is pride. Pride is a big stump. It has a lot of people impaled. It’s the ride of pride.

Pride says, “I don’t need to hear a talk about going subsurface.” Pride says, “I don’t have a problem.” Pride says, “I’m in control.” Pride says to the alcoholic, “I can stop with one glass of wine.” Pride says to the dope addict, “It’s just one joint.” Pride says to someone who’s addicted to prescription drugs, “It’s just one more pill. I can stop anytime I want. I rule my life.” Pride says to the person caught in sexual addiction, “Hey, I can go ahead and surf for skin on the internet or with my remote. It’s no big deal. It’s just between me and the image.”

The ride of pride. This limb that has so many stumped. Could it be the Holy Spirit is saying, “You’ve got a pride issue”?


Anger is another one. The Bible says, “Be angry…” The Bible says that. But then it says, “But do not sin.”

In other words, there is a good anger. We should get angry at the things that God gets angry at. However, there is a toxic anger. If I rage on someone, if I belittle someone, if I don’t want to feel the first emotion that ambushes me like insecurity or inferiority, then what do I do? I jump over or I swing over to a more comfortable emotion—anger. It makes me feel better to just jump down someone’s throat.

Maybe anger is driving a lot of stuff in your life. Maybe anger is causing you to pick apart your spouse. Maybe anger is just causing you to really be too hard on your kids. Maybe anger is causing you to push that person beyond their limit at work. Anger.


How about greed? That’s another one. Do you have a read on greed? What does greed say? Greed says, “More. One more deal. More. One more play. More. One more club. More. One more house. More. When I get to that position, I won’t want any more.”

But see, the More Monster has a lot of us hung up. The More Monster is this big old stump that has a lot of people impaled. And some of you right now are saying, “Oh, Ed, just get on those people who have a lot of stuff. They’re the ones who are greedy. It’s the rich people.”

Well, you know what? A lot of rich people are greedy. Not all of them, but a lot of them are. That’s why they’re rich, because they’re selfish and greedy. Not all of them, but a lot of them. But…

Let’s go over here. I know a lot of people who don’t have very much who are very, very greedy. In fact, the Have Nots might have a greater level of greed than the Haves. There’s this reverse thing going on. So, don’t say, “Well I don’t have that much, so I can’t be greedy.” I don’t know.

Here’s what Jesus said about greed in Luke 12:15. Jesus said “Watch out…” You know what that phrase means in the Greek? Watch out! That’s what it means. “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”


How about envy? That’s another big stump that’s got a lot of us. Envy. The Bible calls it the evil eye of envy. Envy says, “I want her car, her figure, his portfolio, that house.” It’s the evil eye of envy. Envy. People say, “Well, he’s green with envy. She’s green with envy.” Envy will mess you up.

Envy begins where your income ends. Envy begins where my income ends. You got that? Envy. Could that be that stump that’s impaling you? God wants to push you along the wake of life; he wants you to cruise. But envy is keeping you where you are.

Proverbs 14:30 comments about envy: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”


How about lust? Lust is a stump that has a lot of people impaled. Lust is a God-given desire—sex—that’s gone haywire. It is using a God-given gift in a God-forbidden way. It’s taking sex out of context.

Sex is for the marriage bed—one man, one woman in the covenant of marriage. But we take it out, and then we have lust. And a lot of people are eaten alive with lust. And it’s ruining your marriage, it’s ruining your occupation, it’s ruining how you see the opposite sex or maybe for some, the same sex. Lust. Look at the Holy Spirit of God whose saying, “Okay, that’s a stump that has you impaled.”


Gluttony. Man, these are very positive, aren’t they? Envy, gluttony, pride, anger… Okay, gluttony. What is gluttony? Gluttony is just eating too much stuff, basically. Too much food and drink. God has given us food. Food’s great. I mean, isn’t it fun to have different tastes and things like that? God could’ve made everything to taste like Styrofoam, but he didn’t! It’s a sin, though, when we eat too much or drink too much.

And so often, we’re feeling down or we’re hurt so what do we do? We’re like a bunch of blue sharks in a feeding frenzy. Our eyes roll back in our heads and we just go to town!

I often fight that every weekend. After speaking four or five times, I’m exhausted emotionally. I’ll eat anything in sight!

But I think God wants balance in our lives. He didn’t want us to freak out or go overboard about diet. I mean, we should live by the 90/10 principle. 90% of the time we should eat pretty clean and healthy. The other 10% you can have some nachos with cheese, a little milkshake now and then, a little Ben & Jerry’s. That’s okay. But why do we stuff our faces? That’s a good question. That’s the thing to think about.


Slothfulness. I didn’t say sloppiness. Slothfulness. That’s another stump.

What’s slothfulness? Slothfulness is saying, “I don’t know, whatever.” Maybe at work you’re going and going and making deals and doing all this stuff. But then with your marriage and family you say, “I don’t care really. It just kind of handles itself.”

Or maybe you’re into the marriage and the family and all that. But then at work, you’re lazy. Slothfulness.

Slothfulness can really hurt us spiritually. It can hurt us eternally. In Acts 24:25 Paul was talking to a man named Felix. Felix was convicted, and Scripture says that Felix said, “Well, Paul, I feel ya. (he didn’t say “I feel ya”—that’s my paraphrase) But I want to call for you at a more convenient time.”

That’s eternal slothfulness. And, because of that, Felix never stepped over the line of faith.

So, I want to ask you just point-blank: as the Holy Spirit goes subsurface in your life, what has he pointed out? What stump or stumps have you impaled?

At this point, some of you are going, “Okay…I know that. I believe that.” But this series is about what? A-C-T-I-O-N. It’s about action!

It’s great to know the promises of God; it’s great to know that we’re delivered. It’s great to believe it. But how do we activate that? Here’s the good news! I’ve been delivered; so have you! How do we walk in deliverance? Remember, we don’t fight for deliverance. We fight from deliverance. We don’t fight for victory. We fight from victory. Because our victory and deliverance was secured on the cross 2000 years ago. But, how do we activate that? Because a lot of us are paddling, rocking our boats back and forth, cranking the motor up. But it’s not going anywhere. What do we do?

You remember Jesus in John chapter 5? He was walking in Jerusalem and he walked by a pool. This was not like a swimming pool. This was a pool that was unique to his day. You had a bunch of crippled people around the pool, and everybody knew they were on like the brink of a miracle when you were with Jesus, the miracle-worker. They were wondering, “What’s he going to do next?”

He walks up to a guy who’s been crippled for 38 years, and he asks this man a weird question. Check this question out in John 5:6: “Do you want to get well?”

I mean, come on! At the first reading, that is a strange question. Jesus is asking someone who’s been crippled for 38 years, “Hey, uh, do you want to get well?”

I’m thinking, “What do you think?!”

But, Jesus, who is all-knowing, saw through the veneer. He saw the man’s heart. Maybe there was some situation going on in his life. Maybe he was using his infirmity as a scapegoat, as an excuse. I don’t know. But there was something there that caused him to ask this man the question.

So, I want to turn that question and ask you the same question. Do you want to get well? You’re impaled by pride, maybe anger, greed, some lust, gluttony, slothfulness. Do you want to get well? Do you want to get well?

Put your yes on God’s yes, because who are you? You’re a sinner saved by grace. Whose are you? You’re a child of God. So am I. What do you have? What do I have? We could tap into the octane, the power to walk in deliverance. Well, how do we do that?

I think a first suggestion would be to involve someone in the loop who has skin on their body. You’ve got to talk to God about this stump that has you impaled, but talk to someone with skin on. Talk to a Christian counselor or someone who is mature.

Just go through these sins, these stumps that have you impaled and say, “Okay, pride is something that I’m struggling with. And here’s what I do, here’s what I see when pride gets the best of me. I drop names. I do the one-up-manship thing. I show off.”

Or, “I’m involved in envy. And when I go over to someone’s house and I see the size of their master bedroom and the beautiful bathroom…”

Just tell that to someone. Share it!

Now, some of you are saying, “I can’t share that. I can’t do that. If they knew what I struggled with, they would look down on me.”

But just the opposite is true, because this is the mature believer in Christ. They will reflect Jesus back to you. They will love you because Jesus loves you. They will forgive you because Jesus forgives you. They will promise you, and know about his presence, and they will talk to you and help you with deliverance—walking in freedom. Share it with someone, because revealing your feeling, I believe, is the beginning of healing and deliverance.

The Scripture says, in John 8:32, 36, “Then, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Now, I know what some of you are saying. Some of you are saying, “Well, okay. That was cool when I identified these stumps—pride and anger and so on and so forth. But the Bible’s telling me to really do business and go subsurface and to walk in freedom. You know, this sin has become my friend, my buddy. And this sin is just kind of intrinsically woven into who I am. I’m just a prideful person. I’m just a lustful person. I’m just envious. I’m just slothful—that’s just the way I am.”

And some of you are thinking it’s too painful to deal with this. You’d rather stay impaled by one of these sins than freed up to walk in deliverance, because you know the pain that will occur.

And some of you are thinking, “Okay, Ed. Will God just deliver me from the desire, totally and completely?”

No. He will deliver you, and he has delivered you, from the control of it. But many times, the desire will still be there. And he allows the desire to be there, in many circumstances and situations, so we’ll stay tethered to him.

Share this with someone. Involve them in the loop. Talk to them. That’s what James says. James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”

Basically, we’re as sick as our secrets, aren’t we? I think it’s good to try to tackle one stump at a time. You might have two stumps that are impaling you. Well, let’s just talk about one stump at a time. Just one stump. Let’s say the Holy Spirit has pointed out anger in your life, and you’re thinking, “Okay, I’m ready to put shoe leather beneath it. I’m ready to walk in deliverance. I’m ready to be freed up.”

And, you’ll go home and say, “God, forgive me of my anger. Take it from me. You’ve delivered me. I confess that in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

No, no. That’s not the way to do it. Get specific. Think about sushi. Sushi-size your prayers. You might want to pray like this: “Lord, tomorrow, I know between 9 a.m. and 12 noon, I’m going to be tempted in this meeting to rage on people, to belittle people, to tell people off, to scream and yell and shout. God, between 9 and noon, give me your grace to walk in deliverance.”

Maybe lust is the stump in your life. Well, don’t pray this: “Forgive me of my lust. Take it away. Deliver me. Amen.”

Don’t pray that. Pray this: “God, I’m going to be going out of town next Thursday on a business trip. I’ll be in a hotel room by myself, and I know I’ll be tempted to channel surf and to order an adult movie. Keep me pure between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. while I’m in that hotel room alone, and give me the strength when I check in to tell the person working at the hotel to block those channels from my television.”

That is sushi-sizing your prayer. That is being prolific. Because we’re going to be prolific when we’re specific. So, tackle the stumps one at a time.

And then, as you tackle the stumps, as you walk in deliverance, throw yourself a party. Say, “Okay. I’ve lived within a budget for three weeks,” and throw yourself a party. A cheap one, but throw yourself a party. Or maybe you’ve eaten clean by the 90/10 principle for the last two months. Throw yourself a party! Drink some carrot juice or something like that. (I’m kidding about the carrot juice.)

It’s important to celebrate victories, and the Scripture talks a lot about this. Jesus said this in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore, don’t worry about tomorrow…”

So many of us have scenarios about sickness or something else and we just worry, “Ah…what happens? What about next month? Next quarter? Next five years?”

No no. “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Here’s another suggestion. Don’t rely on your will power. You can’t do it, or I can’t do it by myself. We’re going to be hung up every single moment of our lives. We say, “I’ve got the will power. I can pull myself up by my own boot straps.”

But it’s not going to work! It’s not gonna happen for you. We’ve got to rely on whose power? God’s power. The power of God.

Who are we? Children of God. Whose are we? We’re adopted into the family of God. What do we have? The power of God! The raw power of God. He’s given us love and forgiveness and his presence and he’s delivered us. That’s why Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

I left you hanging on that boat story. I was in these coffee-black waters feeling for that stump. Well, I felt the stump, and the stump had almost put a hole in the boat. We were on the verge of sinking, so I emerged from underneath the boat and told my friend, “Hey, you walk to one side of the boat and I’m going to push as hard as I can. And together, let’s free this boat.”

Sure enough, we did it. And we were off this big monster of subsurface stump and we had a great day of fishing. No more obstacles. No more hindrances. No more hang-ups. No sin anymore.

That’s what God wants to do in your life and mine. He really does. The power is available. Are we going to sit on the premises, sit in our boat paddling around, cranking up the motor, rocking it back and forth, and just hang out on the surface? Or are we going to go subsurface and stand on the promises of God and rely on the fact that Jesus is my deliverer?