October 7, 2007
I’d like to welcome all of our campuses. By the miracle of technology, what’s going on downtown Dallas, Downtown Fort Worth, Miami, our beautiful camp at Allaso Ranch, and of course, here in Grapevine. And also, too, this will be seen at a later date all across the world with our television show. So check it out and tell your friends about it.
All right. We’ve been talking about the family lately. The family. And this series is called Family Reunion. Hey families, thanks for being here. And that means I’m thanking everybody for being here because all of us are a member of a family. Isn’t that cool? I don’t care how old you are, how young you are, what you look like, where you’re from, your socioeconomic level – all of us are members of a family.
Sometimes when I’m driving down the freeway, I’ll see these blue signs that have a big honkin’ H on them. You know those big H signs. That tells me there’s a hospital in the area. And that gives me great confidence to know, 24/7, if I have a medical emergency, I can pull off, follow the signs that lead to the hospital and I’ll have a qualified staff to help me out. That’s a comforting thought. We’ve got the best system in the world.
Here’s my question though. Where do you go when you have a non-medical emergency? Where do you go for the aches and pains of life? Who do you turn to when your confidence has collapsed? When your heart is broken? When you have those emotional and relational problems and injuries in your life? Where do you go?
When I was in the 5th grade, my parents moved during the middle of the school year to another city. The school I moved from was like this story book picturesque elementary school. The school I moved to was totally crazy. The inmates were running the asylum. If you can compare maybe to musical taste, it would be, I moved from – I moved from Mozart to Metallica.
I walked in during the middle of the school year. Had my outfit on. Went to Mrs. Blackwell’s class. I hope she’s not watching this by television. And this lady was a chain-smoker with the worst coffee breath I have ever smelt in my life. You had to stay about ten feet away from Mrs. Black-whale – Ohhh, you know.
So I enter this classroom look around and Mrs. Blackwell says, “We have a new student today. His name is Ed Young. Ed, there’s an empty desk, sit there.”
I walked over to the desk, didn’t know a soul. Put my books down, my brand new books, you know, notebooks, all of my school supplies. I was just preparing to sit down when a guy in the middle of the classroom took my books threw them off the desk, up against the wall and said “Get out of that seat, you blankity-blank-blank-blank, that’s not your desk.”
All of this unfolded in front of Mrs. Blackwell. And you know what she did? Do you know what her reaction was? Nothing. She didn’t do a thing.
Several hours went by, recess, man. Recess is a great time. I’m thinking, “Ok, recess, I can meet some people. Recess, what a cool time.” I was walking around the playground, this dusty playground. Not one blade of grass on it. Walked up to some kids who were playing. And I’m just standing there watching these guys play. They were playing marbles. Marbles. How old-school. Marbles. And this big kid stands up with curly hair and steel blue eyes, he asks, “What are you looking at?”
I said, “Man, I’m just watching you guys play marbles.”
He said, “You better get out of here or I’m going to tear your head off.”
I’m thinking, “Ok dude, all right. All right, all right.” I backed down, and I remember walking around the edge of that playground for the next hour. Tears in my eyes. Kicking sand. Saying to myself. “Why have my parents moved us into this hell-hole?”
Several hours went by, it was time to be picked up from school. I’ve never in my life been so excited to see a blue Impala. My mother pulled up, I sprinted to the car. I was in the 5th grade. My brother was in the 3rd. We jumped in and we were telling her all the horror stories. We were crying and my brother was in the fetal position – it was a non-medical emergency.
That night we gathered around the dinner table. I didn’t realize it then, but my parents knew. My parents realized that we needed some CPR. My parents realized we needed some help. My parents realized it was a serious situation. Not a medical one, but a non-medical one.
They began to talk to us. Help us. Identify with us and we spilled our guts and told them how we felt about the whole situation. Looking back on that time, I now realize it. Looking back on that time, I now understand it. Your home, my home, is a family clinic. Your home, my home, is a hospital. Your home, my home is a trauma center. Where do you go for those non-medical emergencies? Where do you go for those aches and pains of life? Where do you go, where do you go?
If your home is not a hospital, I tell you where you go. If you’re a guy, you might get into the achievement binges. You might throw yourself into workaholism, maybe you might get involved in an illicit relationship. If you’re a woman, you could easily throw yourself into the lives of your kids, orbit everything around them. Give them the corner office, have them to run the show, it becomes all about the kids. You too could get into an extramarital affair. Read the stats. Record numbers of women are sleeping in the wrong bed.
If you’re a kid, and you realize, “My home is not a family clinic.” What happens is you’ll turn to your peers and they’ll give you answers to the questions and usually their answers to your questions aren’t the right ones. Then, ultimately, you begin to do what your parents do. Because when kids are young, parents, they pretty much do what we tell them to do. When they become teenagers, they do what you do.
Some of us take this junk and bury it inside of our lives if the home is not a family clinic. It festers, it becomes toxic. And in our 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, [whoom] our whole life is up for grabs.
Last time we learned that our home is a family business. There’s a business side to your family and mine. How’s business? And what’s your business? Today we’re going to find out that God’s design for your home and mine is this hospital picture, this family clinic picture, this trauma center picture.
“Well, Ed, my family’s not a hospital. My family’s a ha-ha house.” I understand. Sometimes mine is too. But the phenomenal message I’ve got for you over the next several minutes is all of us, that’s right, every single person here, because all of us are a member of a family, all of us can be the catalyst if we surrender ourselves to God and his power to turn our homes into a hospital. Is your home a hospital? Is your home a trauma center? Is your home a family clinic?
Two things, two things that I want you to remember. Two things you can do today to make this happen. If you want to, because remember, we have a freedom of choice, and we either choose to do so or not.
First thing is this. If you want to turn your home into a trauma center, into a hospital, into a family clinic, number one, set up a triage. Set up a triage. Say triage with me. Triage. I love that word! It’s a French word. And when the French used the word, if you look at the etymology of it, means to sort, to prioritize. Here is basically the set up for this family clinic. Ephesians chapter 4, Ephesians chapter 5, Ephesians chapter 6, in the New Testament elaborate on this, it gives us the structure of the family.
Jesus is the Great Physician. John chapter 5. He was called the Great Doctor. He’s the head physician. Parents. We’re the doctors. Some of you are thinking, “Whoa, what?” Yeah, yeah, yeah. Parents. Single parents. You’re a doctor. So if you’re seated beside your spouse, just turn to your spouse and say, “Baby, you’re a doctor. The doctor of love.” That’s right.
So, Jesus is the Great Physician. Parents, we are the doctors. Kids are the patients. You’re the patients, kids. And doctors, what do we do? We practice medicine. I like that. You talk to a doctor. “Oh, I’m in practice.” Oh, so they’re practicing. Practice. They are practicing. Parents, that’s what we’re doing to, we’ve got to be real, we’ve got to be open. We’ve got to be honest. We’re practicing.
So we got Jesus, the head physician, parents, we’re the doctors. Kids, are the patients. What is the definition of parenting? It comes from three scriptures. Deuteronomy 6, Proverbs 22 and Genesis 2. The definition of parenting is to teach and to train your kids to leave. Spouses stay, kids leave. That’s what we’re doing as parents. So the patients, the kids, as we give them more and more responsibility, and accountability, as they become more and more vulnerable in this family hospital, they move from patients to interns, interns to residents, residents to doctors. That’s right. You’ll become a doctor one day.
The Great Physician, parents, has given us this position to help our kid’s condition. That’s a good way to remember it. What’s the condition? The sin condition. We’re all sinners. This church is a hospital for sinners. And Jesus talked about going out and dealing with and ministering to those who were sin-sick. That’s what we do. So this church can be considered a teaching hospital. Here in Grapevine, a teaching hospital. Miami, you’re a teaching hospital. Dallas / Fort Worth, Plano, Allaso Ranch, a teaching hospital.
So this hospital needs to teach and to train and to underscore and to highlight what we’re teaching and training and underscoring and highlighting in our families. So the family should be a small scale representative of the body of Christ. But we’ve got to set up a triage, don’t we?
Parents. We’re calling the shots. Parents, we’re sorting out everything. Parents, we’re making the decisions. Yes or no. No or yes. Yes or no. No or yes. And the older your kids become, the more involved and engaged in their lives you become, parents, you’ve got to say, “No-no-no-no-no, No-no-no-no-no, No-no-no-no-no” more than you say yes. Because there’s so many options out there. So many things coming at us. Set up a triage.
In other words, you treat a paper-cut differently than a snake-bite. And wise parents discern their kids at surprisingly young ages because when kids are young, what do they do? They have this sinful condition. They sit in their playpen and case the joint and they say, “You know what, I’m going to take this place over.” The patient wants to become the doctor. And if parents just give him or her the ropes, the reins, the corner office with the parties and the perks, the whole home is up for grabs. So as parents, we need to be motivated, we need to be motivated, parents. Are you motivated? I’m shocked at how quickly time just melts off the clock.
Several days ago I went to my 30th high-school reunion. I’m looking at people, I’m saying to myself, “Surely, I don’t look that bad. Surely I don’t look that old.” But it’s like you have your kids and then boom, they’re grown. They’re in high school and college and talking about marriage and they’re getting married and they’re having kids and we’re like, wow, where did the time go? We’ve got to be motivated. What do we do? The whole thing, parents, the whole game, putting the ball to the net, is not giving them trust funds, it’s not hopefully preparing them to become college athletes or to get some scholarship. All those things are fine and dandy, rah-rah-rah, go team go.
The deal is, we teach them what it means to know Jesus Christ personally, and we see those abilities and those gifts and we applaud them and we direct them and we send them out with great trajectory. That’s our motivation.
Is that your motivation? Wise parents are motivated. Wise parents are also educated. It takes an average doctor about eleven years, it takes the average doctor eleven years of school, and then they’re kind of ready for the deal. Then they practice medicine. Parents, what a call to our lives to be educated, to know our kids. There are more resources today available for us to learn about parenting than ever before. That’s why in the history of Fellowship Church, we talk about family issues over and over and over again. Give yourself a round of applause right now for showing up today. Just clap. This is Labor Day weekend. Yeah! You’re here and you’re thinking, “You know what, I’m going to learn about this stuff. I’m going to be prepared about this stuff.”
Some of you, who are single, are thinking, “Well, does this have anything to do with me?” Yes it does, because you’re a part of a family now, and one day, stats show, you’ll get married and have a family. Single parents, we applaud you. Nuclear families, we applaud you. We have families all types, all stripes. Thank you for being here. But what’s crazy is at Fellowship Church we have anywhere from 40 to 50 thousand people who attend our church once, once every 6 weeks. That’s not cutting it.
And the reason I’m doing this series is, I want to give you the 4-1-1 so you don’t have to dial 9-1-1 later and say, “Ed! My family is totally screwed up! My husband, he’s here and there, my wife she’s there and here, and my kids, oh man!” This will save you. God’s Word wants to save us the heartache and the pain of doing life our way compared to doing life his way. I’m here to tell you God’s way works. It works. Don’t waste your time, young people, don’t say, “Well, I’m going to sow my wild oats,” and about a decade later, “I’ll pray for a crop failure.” No, no, no, no, no. Live for the Lord now. Parents. Students. We gotta have the right motivation. We gotta have the right education. I’m talking about knowing the Word and giving the Word out. And also, we have to be dedicated.
Think about a great doctor. 24/7. This man, this woman, boom, they’re ready. They’re ready to go. They are on point. They want to treat you and help you. Are you motivated? Are you educated? Are you dedicated? Do you have that commitment? Even when you don’t feel like it? Even when you’re in a bad mood, are you saying, “I am dedicated. I realize God has placed me in this position to help my kid’s condition.”
Because, parents, we have to put ourselves under the authority of the Great Physician, Jesus. Then we teach our kids to put themselves under our authority. And from there we have this beautiful hospital going. We have a qualified staff. We have this whole thing blowing and moving and grooving and we’re sending our kids out with great trajectory. We’re challenging them, we’re building our lives around the family of God, this hospital, this teaching hospital. Because moms and dads, Club Cheer is not going to teach you these things. Select Soccer is not going to teach you these things. Basketball is not going to teach you these things. Theater is not going to teach you these things. Our government sure as heck ain’t going to teach us these things. The arts are not going to teach us these things. Our educational system, oh-ha, they’re not going to teach us these things. The whole entertainment world. Do you think they’re teaching us these things? Are you kidding? What are you smoking? Have you gone crazy?
The only institution that highlights and underscores these values is the lonely isolated local church. God wants the best for you, he wants the best for me. We either do it God’s way, or we don’t. And if you think you’re big enough, and bad enough, cool enough, smart enough, hip enough, yeah-yeah enough, to roll the dice and do it your way, go for it. But I can give you thousands and thousands and thousands of names of people I’ve counseled with, I’ve talked to, whose lives are totally in the deep weeds because they did the family their way and not God’s way. And I’m sick and tired of dealing with so many families who are so messed up and who have no clue about what’s going on and the people who need to be here this weekend aren’t. They’re not here. And one day they’re going to call us up, “Oh, I got a 9-1-1 situation. My son, man, is all messed up on drugs.” “I got a 9-1-1 situation. My husband ran off with a stripper.” “I’ve got a 9-1-1 situation. My wife is sleeping with my best friend.” And everything in my spirit wants to say, “I told you so. What do you think we’ve been doing for the last couple of decades here? Playing tiddlywinks? Twister? Trivial pursuit?”
The enemy, I’m telling you, he’s not going to sit back. He’s after the family. He doesn’t dig the family. The family is the unit, it’s the entity where God’s redemptive pattern and plan work. Yeah, you can say it’s through culture, yeah you can say it’s through a nation, but really, read the Scriptures, it’s through the family. It’s through the family. So parents, what am I saying? Take your meds. Get motivated, educated, dedicated, and get stimulated to do what God wants you to do. It’s a small window.
So, set up a triage, prioritize your family. It’s God, Ephesians 4, 5 & 6. It’s the marriage, it’s parents, it’s the kids, it’s the work, revolve yourself around the church.
Number two, second thing. Only two things today. Labor Day. No big deal, just two things to remember. So we set up a triage, number two we build up trust. We build up trust. Ha. You know what’s so funny. It’s really hilarious when we go to the doctor. Isn’t that funny? We go see doctors. And doctors write out a prescription we can’t read. We take it to a pharmacist we don’t even know, and they make us swallow medication we’ll never understand. Isn’t that funny? Yeah, we trust them. And it’s all about trust.
And people say, “Well, I want a doctor that I can talk to. I want a man or woman who can answer all my questions.” And I think, “That’s noble.” I think, “That’s cool.” But let’s just get totally real. For us to really understand the answers, we’d have to go to medical school for about 11 years. At the end of the day, what’s it about? Trust. We gotta trust. Trust is a must. We gotta trust. We gotta trust. It’s about authority. I deal and see more people with more authority issues today than ever before. I’ll say it as simply as I know how. If you want to go up, get under. If you want to go up in life, get under.
God, students listen to me, God has placed your parents in your life to shape and mold and teach and train you to leave. “Well, my dad is unfair. My mom and I are always arguing. Dad and I are always butting heads.” Hey kids, listen to me. If that’s true, you are wrong. You’re wrong. Your parents are parents. God has placed them there for a reason. The Bible says honor your mother and your father. If you do, God’s going to honor you. And we got too many people who are disrespecting their parents who are abusing their parents, who are blaming their parents. Parents aren’t perfect. I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. I understand that. We make mistakes. But kids, you want to discover your best? Do ya? Do ya? Honor your father and your mother. Honor them. Honor them. God has placed them there. What a position, what a calling. What a responsibility. What an accountability. See, God is not really concerned about our ability, our availability. Are you available to him? Parents, we better submit ourselves to the authority of God, the Great Physician. Then we teach our kids how to submit themselves in this whole framework. Then we teach and train them to leave. And we get the beautiful thing happening – authority issues. Authority issues. The family is all about authority. The family is also about vulnerability. I want to ask you just a straight-up question. In your family hospital, do you have an opportunity, is there a venue for everyone to be vulnerable? Because revealing your feeling is the beginning of healing.
Recently I had a colonoscopy. Don’t be embarrassed, everyone has one eventually. You’re thinking, “Wow, I can’t believe he said that.” It’s very invasive. Highly embarrassing. And sometimes I want to ask, you know, hospitals, why they do certain things. Have you ever wondered that?
I checked myself into the hospital. Just a little procedure. They knock you out, thank the Lord, before they do it. “Mr. Young, put on this gown.” Who in the world designed the hospital gown? They were on some serious mind-expanding drugs. I mean, it’s so embarrassing. He said, “Ok, walk in your gown over there to the bed.” You know, I’m walking. “And get in the bed and wait.”
He uses ‘wait.’ I love the waiting game that doctors play. Wait. “If you’ll wait right here just a minute.” It’ll be a – ten or fifteen minutes. Just wait.” And looking around going, “I wonder why he’s here? What are they going to do to him?” And then they come in and wheel me into the room where they are going to do this procedure. And they’re getting ready to put me out.
So they pushed the gurney [wheels squeaking] into the room, and I’m looking and – very nice physician is telling me, “Ok, Ed, we’re going to do this colonoscopy, and our nurses will help you get into position for this procedure.” So, you know, I’m getting into position and the doctor says, “Before I put you out, our nurses wanted to just say something to you.”
They both leaned down, “Ed, we love Fellowship Church. And that message you did last weekend really blessed our lives.” That was the last thing I remembered before the colonoscopy. Don’t talk to me about vulnerability. Is that embarrassing? But you know what? That doesn’t mean anything to them. They’ve seen it all.
But as a family member, we’ve got to be vulnerable. We’ve got to put it out there. We’ve got to have that venue and menu to say, “Ok, here’s my junk, here’s my food. It might be molded. Here’s all of my – my warts and all, I put it on the table.” And then wise family members communicate, “You know what, we’re with you. We’re with you. We’re a part of the staff. We want to help you. We’re on the same page.” And wives, staff members understand the teaching hospital and they understand getting help and they – and they minister to those of us who need it. So it’s about vulnerability. Wow.
Authority, vulnerability, accountability, wouldn’t you say it’s about accountability? Great hospitals have accountability. There’s got to be accountability. There’s a business side to the hospital. I talked about the business plan that God has for the family last time. I challenged you to do three things as a parent. Number one I challenged you to delegate. Number two, I challenged you to investigate. Number three, I challenged you to watch your kids elevate.
Delegation without investigation is merely relegation. It’s easy for me to delegate and relegate. And I’ve been trying to put this into practice in my own home. My wife and I have four kids and six dogs. Our dogs are the size of cattle. And you know what dogs produce when they’re that big. All over the yard. So about every 24 hours, we have to, you know, poop-scoop. I have a big ol’ shovel like they used to use back in the circus behind the elephants, just to shovel it.
I turned to one of my kids, I won’t call this child by name, I’ll give you his initials, EJ, I said, “EJ,” I don’t want to embarrass anybody. I said, “EJ, take this shovel and shovel the poop.”
So he went around the yard and shoveled it. He was done pretty quick. And I said, “Wow, that’s fast.” I said, “EJ,” I didn’t want to do it, because I had to come here and study for the message this weekend. I said, “EJ, you know what, I’m going to see what kind of job that you’ve done.”
I could tell that he was thinking, … “Ok.” So I began to walk around the yard. And that stuff can hide from you. It’ll surprise you. It can be buried deep in the grass, to the side, whatever. I began to see one pile, two, I counted seven piles he missed.
Now, I thought to myself, “Ok, I’ve been speaking about delegation, and investigation. And elevation.” I thought to myself, “Ok. What should I do?” Then it occurred to me. I know what I’ll do. Collect-nology. Collect-nology. I challenged you last time, I said, “Parents, buy your kids cell phones as young as possible. Make sure you get a cell phone that you like because it’s the best disciplinary tool ever. You’ll take it from them very quickly when they mess up. And again, you’ll be able to use it, it’ll be awesome.” Also I challenged you to do the 9:00pm rule. Collect all the technology, what-the-heck-nology, reck-nology, collect it all at 9 o’clock pm from your kids.
“But what about their privacy.” Uh! “They own it.” What? Who paid for it? When they’re old enough to have their own house pay for it themselves, thenthey can do it. But no, no, no. It’s yours. You own it.”
So I said, “EJ, let me have your cell phone.”
“Dad, no, no, no, listen. I didn’t see it. It was down deep in the grass.”
I said, “EJ, anyone can see this. You did not do it thoroughly. Let me have the cell phone. Let me have the cell phone.” Boom, took it, put it in my pocket.
“Dad, I’m sorry.”
And everything in me wanted to go, “You know what, I don’t want to deal with the drama and trauma, here’s your cell phone, ok, clean up the dog poo.” I didn’t. I kept it. And I returned it to him last night. I’m telling you what. Tomorrow, on Labor Day, because we labor on Labor Day, when I say, “EJ, grab the shovel my brother.” He will be looking for every bit of dog poo under the sun. So, there’s a business side to parenting. Make sure that the consequences match the crime.
You know what happened to my friend, that bully, at that school that threatened me? That was traumatic. I tried to stay away from that guy the whole year, he was in another class, he wasn’t in Mrs. Blackwell’s class. I was scared to death of him. Evaded him. He would make eye-contact with me. I’d be like, wow, you know, huh. We would sometimes have recesses together with all of the grades, I would stay on one end. I’m thinking, “I hope he doesn’t show up to me, curly hair, steel blue eyes, man, this guy is big, I don’t want to mess with him.”
My parents, though, again, realized it was a non-medical emergency. My father took me down in the basement. We put the boxing gloves on. He said, “Son, your grandfather knocked out the guy who knocked out the world champion. Let me show you some moves.” So dad and I [tsh-tsh] went after it.
Now if you got a problem with that, don’t email me, email my father. He’s also a pastor, Second Baptist Church, Houston, Texas. That’s right. For the television audience, Second Baptist Church, Houston, Texas.
He said, “Ed, you gotta stand up. I understand, the administration sees this and that. You can go to the teacher, whatever, but if you’re on the playground, someone picks on you, you gotta go after him. You fight.”
The last day of school. The last day of school. I’m thinking to myself. “Ok, I’ve evaded the curly haired guy with steel blue eyes the whole year, this is awesome.” I’m walking out and I have seen my mother’s Impala. I can see it down the hall, I’m thinking, “Yeah!” And I’m walking with my books and a bunch of kids coming my way down the hall, down the ‘red-tile hall’ we called it, and guess who was leading the pack? The curly haired guy with the steel blue eyes. And he looked at me, and I walked past him, and he just pushed me. Boom. My books hit the floor.
I remember looking down at those red tiles and I said, “[boxing announcer voice] Let’s get ready to rumble!” I turned, and I took the guy and I administered to him every move I’d seen on professional wrestling. I was coming off the top ropes, boom, head butt – “take this!” Heh. No, I didn’t do all that, joking. I did punch him a couple of times. He was crying. [crying] I said, “You picked on me all year.” Boom-boom- “and I’m tired of it” [boom-boom]. And they grabbed me, took me to the principles office – “[singing} bad boy, bad boy.” I mean, I’m a lover, not a fighter.
But. I don’t know why I told you that. Who knows why? But I did beat the kid up and I’m glad I did. That’s the point. I’m glad I beat him up.