Is It In You?
April 13, 2003
[On stage, there is a table set up with an espresso machine, a bag of espresso, and all the necessary utensils to make a cup of espresso.]
I was standing in line at Starbucks and a woman in front of me was kind of singing the blues. After hearing her talk for a while, it felt like I took a “doggy downer.”
She was talking to the workers at Starbucks and saying, “Isn’t this weather horrible? It’s sleeting outside and it might turn to snow. My kids are going to get sick. I hate dressing them up in all this stuff. It’s really just a bad deal!”
After a while, I felt horrible. Then, I grabbed my espresso drink, jumped in my truck and headed to the office. The first person I saw in the office was Preston Mitchell.
Preston had a big smile on his face and said, “What are you doing, Ed? Isn’t this weather awesome!? It’s snowing and sleeting. I love it! My kids love it and my wife loves it!”
After a while, Preston began to rub off on me. I felt really good. What was going on in this scenario? On the one hand, you have the “doggy downer” Starbucks woman who chose not to be enthusiastic, and it rubbed off on me. On the other hand, you have Preston Mitchell who chose enthusiasm, and his outrageous contagious enthusiasm rubbed off on me and it changed the course of my day.
That’s why, to conclude our series called ESPRESSO YOURSELF, I’m talking about enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is intricate. It’s easy to see, but it’s pretty tough to explain. When I say the word “enthusiasm,” all these images are conjured up in our minds. I’m not going to talk about some sweet, cheesy, hokey-pokey fake game show host-type enthusiasm.
“Right for 25 points! Tell them what they have won, Johnny!”
No, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about real enthusiasm — the real stuff that comes from the inside out. Enthusiasm. When it’s mentioned in the Bible, it’s a word that carries some serious caffeine. Enthusiasm means “in God.” In the literal language, it’s “en Theos” — in God. If I am in God, then I am enthusiastic. But, I can’t be in God unless, first of all, God is in me. Once God is in me, then I can be in God and I can be enthusiastic.
We are going to discover that enthusiasm is not emotional. Did you hear that? It’s not emotional. It’s relational and intentional. Speaking of enthusiasm and speaking of this series, ESPRESSO YOURSELF, I have decided today, on this stage, to make some fresh espresso. A lot of you, I’m sure, have never had espresso. Maybe you are just dying to see someone make it. I’m going to make it right here. I make espresso all the time. The history of espresso is pretty cool.
In 1901, a man named Luigi Bezzera owned a manufacturing plant in Milan. He was tired of his workers taking these long, drawn out coffee breaks, so he invented a way to brew coffee quickly, rapidly. He served it in little cups to shorten the coffee breaks, and that helped to make Luigi more money. Thus, we have espresso. That’s how it was invented. I can tell that story just changed your life.
[Ed begins to make a cup of espresso on stage. He packs the coffee into the machine and blows on it to get the excess off of the top. He describes what he is doing as he is doing it.]
I would not blow on it if I was making it for you, but I’m making it for me, so I can do that. It’s got to be tight. Put the glass beneath it. Now, this machine is a little bit emotional. We have to show it some love. This is some pressure for this machine to work up here. Here we go. We are going to do a double shot of espresso. Are you ready? Just stay with me. I am going somewhere. I’m not doing this just to do it. Come on, baby! There we go. Now watch this. Hopefully, our camera can get a good view of this. As this espresso pours into the cup, you are going to see that this is a good shot of espresso — a good double shot. You will see three parts formulating right before your eyes. The bottom part is the heart. The middle part is the body and the top part is the crema. So, we have the heart, the body and the crema. The crema, this top portion, is the nutty flavor. It gives it that little zing, that taste, and that caffeine kick. This is great espresso. So, we have three parts. Say it with me. We have got the heart, the body and the crema. Once again, we have the heart, the body and the crema. Espresso — it’s concentrated coffee. It’s a caffeine kick. It’s small, but it’s powerful.
Enthusiasm is the same way. It’s small. It’s concentrated. A little bit goes a long way. It will caffeinate your Christianity. Enthusiasm starts in the heart. It’s an inward deal. The moment we become followers of Christ, the moment we ask Jesus Christ to take over our square footage, what happens? We become right with God vertically. Because we are right with God vertically, we have the power, the caffeine within us, to be enthusiastic horizontally in our relationships. Christians should be the most enthusiastic people around. We should be, yet many times, we are not as enthusiastic as we should be. Why? It’s our choice. Why? Specifically, we run into enthusiasm spasms. Do you know what I am talking about? Somewhere along life’s journey, we run into enthusiasm spasms.
The first one I want to talk about is this spasm called “worry.” Do you ever worry about stuff? Worry is an inordinate amount of anxiety over something that probably is not going to happen. That’s what worry is.
I was talking to a good friend of mine, who is a Christian psychologist, and I began to tell him some stuff that I was worried about.
He said, “Ed, has this stuff ever happened?”
I said, “No.”
He said, “It ain’t going to happen.”
Whatever you are worried about, 99.9% of the time isn’t going to happen. What you are thinking about, whatever you are freaking out over, is not going to happen.
Jesus had this to say about worry in Matthew 6:27, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
If we are into worry, we are not really into God. Conversely, if we are into God and worshipping him, we are going to be enthusiastic. Worry, though, will eat your enthusiasm up.
A while back, I took a fishing trip. I put a battery in the back of my Suburban. I inadvertently spilled some battery acid on the carpet of my Suburban, so I ran and got a towel. I sopped up the acid, I thought. But over the next several days, I watched in horror as this battery acid ate a Grand Canyon size hole in my Suburban carpet.
Worry is the same way. It will eat your enthusiasm alive.
“Who of you,” Jesus said, “by worrying can add a single hour, a single minute, to your life?”
That’s the first enthusiasm spasm. The second enthusiasm spasm is “stress.” Stress. The National Occupational Board of Health and Safety estimates that stress on the American workforce costs our country about one hundred billion dollars a year. Stress, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article I read, can wear down the immune system and increase the risk of disease. It can damage the brain and it can cause memory problems. It can interfere with sexual performance and it can lead to heart attacks and premature death. Do I have your attention yet? Stress. What is stress? Stress is worry on steroids. It’s freaking out about stuff that is out of our control. Worry and stress — the stuff we worry about isn’t going to happen, and the stuff we stress about is out of our control.
The book of Philippians is a phenomenal book. It is 104 verses of inspired mail. Fourteen times in those 104 verses, the Apostle Paul talked about outrageous, contagious, and caffeinated joy and enthusiasm. “What’s up with that,” you say? If you know anything about the book of Philippians, then you know what the context was. You know what the situation was. The Apostle Paul was chained to a Roman guard as he wrote this letter. The theme of it was about outrageous, contagious, and caffeinated enthusiasm and joy. How did he do that? Sounds kind of crazy. I’ll tell you a little bit about it later, but let me read Philippians 4:6.
Paul says this about stress, “Do not be anxious about anything.” The word “anxious” means, “to choke,” “to strangle,” or “to pull in different directions.” Isn’t that an incredible verse about anxiety and stress? It continues, “But in everything (not in some things, but in everything), by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving (we talked about that last weekend), present your requests to God.”
When stress begins to stalk your spirit, when it surrounds you like a pack of hungry hyenas, pray. Present your requests with thanksgiving to God, in everything. Give thanks.
Worry is an enthusiasm spasm. Stress is the second enthusiasm spasm. The third enthusiasm spasm is “fear.” I wrote a book about fear several months ago. It’s called KNOW FEAR — k-n-o-w. Sadly, many of us are fearful instead of fearless. What is fear? Fear is anticipation of harm. That’s what it is. The three greatest fears are the fear of death, the fear of loneliness and the fear of failure. Another one of the biggest fears we face is what I am doing right now — the fear of public speaking. People freak out about speaking publicly. Don’t you? I do. I get nervous every time I speak. We fear stuff.
“I fear this. I fear that. I’m anxious about this, I am worried about that and I’m stressed about that.”
Fear. We love to get our fear in gear, don’t we? We are riddled with it. If you think about worry, stress and fear, if you really consider these enthusiasm spasms, then you’ll find that they run around with some bad by-products. They kick off some bad stuff. If you show me someone who is worried, someone who is stressful or someone who is riddled by fear, then I will show you someone who is critical. I’ll show you someone who has got a big honking plank in their eye and, yet, they are pointing out specks of sawdust in the other people’s eyes. I’ll show you somebody who is going rude on other people. If you show me someone who is stressed out and worried, someone who is unappreciative, then I’ll show you someone who will go rude on you. I’ll also show you somebody who is ungrateful, who thinks the world owes them something. That’s what happens when we are fearful, when we worrisome and stressed out.
God, though, does not want us to live this way. God wants us to be right with him, vertically. Once we connect with him and we have the enthusiasm in our hearts which caffeinates our lives, then what happens? Our caffeine and our enthusiasm flow from our heart into the second part of espresso, the second part of enthusiasm — the body. We have got the heart and next we have got the body. Your body and mine. The Bible says our bodies are a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit of God. This espresso, this enthusiasm, starts in the heart and flows to the body, individually, and the body of Christ, collectively. That’s why the church should be the most enthusiastic entity out there. But if you are like me, you sometimes deal with enthusiasm spasms. The reason we deal with these spasms is because we are basically forgetful. Sometimes, we remember what we should forget and we forget what we should remember. Are you like that?
Speaking of forgetting stuff, that reminds me of a song.
(Song – We Are Family)
Great song, huh? Listen to the words now. We forget we are a part of God’s family. For those of us who are believers, what does the Bible say will happen? The scripture says the moment I bow the knee to Christ, the moment He comes into my life, I am born again. What does that mean? I am born again. I am adopted into the family of God. I cannot be born a believer. You are not born in the family of God. I was not born in the family of God. I’m born and you are born a spiritual orphan because of our sinfulness. Yet, Jesus Christ paid the price on the cross for your sins and mine. Because of his atoning work, we have the opportunity to be adopted into the family of God if we bow the knee to him. Once we are in the family of God we can’t get out.
You may ask, “Ed, can you lose your salvation?”
No, you can’t be unborn. Once you are born again, you are in. Think about your trust fund. Think about your inheritance. Think about your family name. We are part of God’s family. We are family. We have got brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas. Billions of us, I believe we will one day be singing a song that will embarrass Sister Sledge. We are family. When we realize we are a family, what should happen? In the heart, it should cause us to be caffeinated with enthusiasm. Our enthusiasm will flow into our body and also into the body of Christ.
Speaking of songs, here is another one.
(Song – Every Breath You Take.)
Not only do we forget that we are a part of God’s family, we also forget the presence of God. Theologians call it the omnipresence of God. God is everywhere. Jonah didn’t understand this. Jonah thought he could run from God.
God said, “Jonah, I want you to go to Ninevah.”
God said, “Go.” Jonah said, “No.” He went the opposite way. He thought he could shake God. He thought he could fake him out. He thought he could play dodge ball with God. We can’t do it. We can’t shake the companionship of Christ.
On the other hand, I will turn my back on you one day. I’m not perfect. I will dis you one day. You will turn your back on me. You will dis me. God, however, will never dis you or me. He’ll never turn his back on you or me. God is with us. Emmanuel is what they call Jesus. It means “God is with us.”
My mind rushes back to when I was a teenager. During my high school basketball days, we would have these closed practices. Our coach didn’t want our rival schools to figure out what we were doing. It was a really serious deal. So, no one could show up to the practices except the players, the trainers and the coaches. It was really hush-hush. I remember practicing and checking out the horizon line in the gym — the ground floor and the upper deck. We had these two doors in the back of our gym. These doors had these little windowpanes, these little glasses on the doors. Many times, I would look up and I would see the silhouette of my father watching me play. No one in gym knew that Dad was there except me. I recognized my father, because I am his son. With Dad watching, I was motivated to play better. As you live your life and I live mine, our Father is the same way. He is watching you and me. That should motivate us to have this outrageous, contagious, and caffeinated enthusiasm and joy. It starts in the heart and it flows into the body.
Now remember, the Apostle Paul was chained to a Roman guard when he wrote this inspired piece of mail. In 104 verses, he mentions outrageous, contagious caffeinated joy and enthusiasm 14 times. What was Paul doing? Was he singing Johnny Cash songs?
[Ed begins to sing…] “I hear that train a coming. It’s rolling round the bend. I ain’t seen the sun shine since I don’t know when, stuck in Roman prison as the time keeps dragging on. Yeah.”
He didn’t do that. He didn’t go there. Do you know what he did? Paul showed enthusiasm, again. Let’s check it out. In Philippians 1:12 he says, “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has served to advance the Gospel.” The word “Gospel” means good news. The word “advance” is a deep word.
Isn’t it amazing how we have been able to watch this war unfold on television? Isn’t it incredible? Talk about technology! We can watch the war. This word “advance” is all about the war. Certain men and women in our military pave the way for the advancing troops. That is all they do, and it is very important. They use bulldozers and other equipment to move mounds of sand and take out land mines, just to clear the path for the advancing army.
Paul says, “What has happened to me has occurred to advance the Gospel.” He was telling them, “I’m clearing out the path. I’m moving the sand. I’m taking out the land mines so the Gospel can be advanced.”
We are part of that. That’s why Paul was enthusiastic. He was in a situation where we would say, “Oh, it’s terrible! You are in a Roman Folsom Prison, Paul. I can’t believe it. This is bad.” “Doggy downer. It’s snowing. Blah, blah, blah.”
Paul said, “No. I am related to Jesus Christ and I choose to be enthusiastic, because what is happening to me has served to advance the Gospel.”
I think about the early days of Fellowship Church. Thirteen years ago, we began in MacArthur Commons Office Complex with 150 people. Then, we moved to the Irving Fine Arts Center with about 700 people. Then, we moved to MacArthur High School. Every weekend for 8 years, we would set up and tear down our church — a church on the move and in the groove, might I add. We were moving all this stuff, going from one spot to the next. All this stuff, that so many of us did, was doing what? It was advancing the Gospel. We were simply clearing the path for the Gospel to be advanced. Now look at what God has done! Look at how many people have received the good news of Christ, because of the advancement of the Gospel.
Here’s what I ask you. What are you doing now for the next group? What are you doing now for the next troops? What are you doing now?
Fellowship Church is the most enthusiastic church I have ever seen in my life. When people visit Fellowship, they always tell me, “Ed, the enthusiasm is contagious — the parking crew, the ushers, people in children’s church, the student ministry, the singles ministry, and the small groups. It is all about enthusiasm.”
I talked to a number of folks on our staff this week who receive all of our emails and letters. We get mountains of stuff every week. They told me that out of every 100 emails or letters, only one to two are even halfway negative. So, they were telling me that the overwhelming majority of everything we receive here is all about outrageous, contagious joy and enthusiasm. That is a great thing. Let me applaud you and applaud the Lord for the great things he is doing right here at Fellowship Church. Enthusiasm is an earmark of spiritual maturity. I’m so proud to be a part of an enthusiastic church, because I always wanted to be part of a church where I could invite anyone, from any walk of life, and they could hear a life-changing message from the moment they pull into the parking lot until the moment they leave. I believe God, by his awesome grace and mercy, has given us a place like this — here at Fellowship Church. And I am enthused about it. Why? Because I am in God. I can be in God, because I know God is in me. That is a choice that I made — to be enthusiastic — and I am excited about the choice you have made, as well.
Enthusiasm — it starts in the heart. It flows into the body. From there, what happens? You have the third part of it. It moves into crema, the sweetness, the nutty flavor of the espresso.
If you ever order espresso, and you don’t have crema on it, send it back. I am not a big “send back guy” at restaurants. I’m not that way. I am, though, pretty particular, pretty specific, about espresso. Usually, if it doesn’t have crema on it, either the machine was kind of acting up or the waiter or waitress let the espresso sit out too long. That’s usually what occurred. Just send it back. Let them make you a fresh shot, double shot or whatever. Then, you enjoy that espresso and enjoy that crema, because that’s what gives it the flavor.
Enthusiasm gives us the flavor of life, doesn’t it? That’s the crema.
In 2 Corinthians 9:2, Paul again talks about it, “Your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action.”
Not everybody. There are always a few “doggy downer,” Starbucks-type people.
“Your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action.”
What was he talking about? Paul was talking about the Corinthians’ effect and influence on the Macedonians. The Macedonians’ heads were kind of snapped back, because of the enthusiasm of the Corinthians. They were giving, serving and using their talents to such a degree, and they were so enthusiastic, that the Macedonians said, “Wow, what are they drinking? What are they on? This stuff is unbelievable!”
Ecclesiastes 9:10 is a very practical verse. The writer says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all of your might.”
If you are changing diapers, do it with all of your might. If you are preparing meals, do it with all your might. If you are doing deals, do it with all of your might. If you are running a corporation, do it with all of your might. If you are coaching 8th graders, do it with all of your might. If you are pulling shots at Starbucks, do it with all of your might. If you are preaching sermons, do it with all of your might. If you are singing a song, do it with all of your might.
We have the crema that comes to us from the person of Christ. Enthusiasm is not something we do on our own. It comes only from the cross of Christ. It comes only from the vertical and horizontal aspects of the cross. Once we understand that, own that and let that flow from our heart into our body, and from our body into the crema, then people want a piece of it. They want a taste of what we have, and it’s all about Jesus.
Over the next several days, we have an opportunity to mark people with enthusiasm. God has placed all of us where we are for a specific reason and purpose. You have your skill set, your laugh, your look, your occupation, and you live in your neighborhood because God orchestrated it that way. He has given you influence and leadership. So many people that you know and I know, don’t know Christ personally. They are searching for meaning. They are searching for answers. All we have to do is take these Trading Spaces cards in our worship guide, tear them off and enthusiastically invite someone to one of eight Easter services. All we have to do is pray a high-risk prayer. Almost everybody shows up at church on Easter, and there is no way someone can give you eight reasons as to why they cannot attend Fellowship Church. We have that option.
Here is the deal I will make with you. I wish I could shake every one of your hands, but let me do this. You bust it on your end. You pray for people that you come in contact with everyday that don’t know Christ. You give these cards out. You enthusiastically invite people to church. Many people are just one invitation away from receiving Christ. On our end, we will bust it to give a compelling Biblically based message from the moment they walk in to the moment they leave. They’ll hear about what it’s all about concerning the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Is that a good deal or what? Together we can join hands and we can touch this community for the cause of Christ. I believe that when people walk through those doors next weekend, they will meet a God who gives them and shows them this outrageous, contagious caffeinated joy and enthusiasm. Don’t you? I really believe that.
Espresso. It’s small. It’s concentrated. It has a caffeine kick. Enthusiasm. It’s small. It’s concentrated. It has a caffeine kick. It’s all about the cross because when we bow the knee to the cross, we are right vertically and we are right horizontally. That is the true caffeine for life.