“Good At Looking”
February 10, 2019
by Ed Young
I was trying to get my Driver’s License and my father was attempting to teach me how to drive, and finally, he threw his hands up in the air and said, “Ed, I’ve got to hire a professional. I can’t do this.”
So the next day I’m playing basketball in the driveway and a little car drives up, and on the side of the car it read, “Tony Sellers Driving School.” And a weird little man hopped out of the car with a jumpsuit on, Onassis style glasses. On his jumpsuit was the name ‘Tony’ embroidered over the right breast pocket. He had a clipboard.
He said, in a weird voice, “Is Edwin Barry Young available? Is Edwin Barry Young available? Is Edwin Barry Young available?” I said, “Yeah, yeah, I’m Ed.” “Hello, Ed. I’m Tony Sellers and I’m gonna teach you how to drive using the EZ method.”
This guy was really strange. I looked into his eyes and his eyes were magnified like that, and I’m thinking, “He’s gonna teach me how to drive?” And I found out that every time he would give you a command he would do it three times.
“Get in the car. Get in the car. Get in the car.” So I did, put the seatbelt on. “Reverse, reverse, reverse.” So I’m driving, vroom, vroom. “Ten and two, ten and two, ten and two.” Vroom. “Have you ever been on the freeway before?”
I looked at him, I said, “No, sir.” “Don’t look at me! Don’t look at me! Don’t look at me! Let’s go to the freeway.” “Yes, sir.” Vroom. “Blinker, blinker, blinker.” Dink, dink. Dink, dink. Dink, dink. “Accelerate, accelerate, accelerate.” Vroom. “Merge, merge, merge.” I began to merge and all of a sudden, “Blind spot! Blind spot! Blind spot!” I almost ran a car off the road in Tony Sellers driving training school car.
What happened? I did something that we all do. I didn’t really watch out for those blind spots. Blind spots, they’re real, aren’t they? We all have them. In my research I found out that the person with the greatest vision has some blind spots.
We have blind spots when it comes to relationships, I’ll tell you that. Blind spots in marriage, blind spots in friendships, blind spots in dating relationships. That’s why I invented this series called TLC. T stands for touch, L stands for look, and C stands for comment or conversation. TLC. I’m not talking about the 90s band. I’m not talking about The Learning Channel. I’m not talking about tender, love, and care. I’m talking about TLC.
Last week, were you here last week? If you missed it check it out. We learned that the human body is made by God. We learned that our skin is the largest organ on our bodies, our skin. God made your skin and mine so we can feel the world around us. The Bible says God got personally involved when he made man. He used some Earth to make us and he breathed breath into us.
So our bodies matter because God touched them. Moreover, Jesus wore skin. He wore the flesh. Our bodies matter because God made them and Jesus wore skin. And also our bodies matter because our bodies are a dwelling place for the Lord. Isn’t that cool?
So we said, “Do you touch much?” Because there’s much to the touch. Now I’m not talking about becoming Mr. McFeely. I’m not talking about grabbing people inappropriately. I’m talking about touching people that you’re in a relationship with.
We’re made to touch and to be touched eight to 10 times. Guys, I’m talking about nonsexual touching. There is such a thing. Do you touch much? We should touch our loved ones. We should touch our kids. We should touch our friends. Touch.
Well, today, we’re talking about looks. Looks. I think we all want to be good looking. Do you want to be good looking? Come on, lift you hand. The average woman spends 55 minutes a day trying to be good looking. The average man spends like 19 minutes a day trying to be good looking. Really, guys spend more time than that because we work out and we train. Why do we lift weights? Why do we worry about keto and low carbs and crossfit? We want to be good looking.
And that’s fine if you want to be good looking. Looks don’t last very long, but we want to be good looking, and we spend a lot of time and energy and money trying to be good looking. But what I want you to think about is spending time, spending allotted energy and focus not just trying to be good looking, but being good at looking.
I’m not talking about being good looking, I’m talking about being good at looking. Are you good at looking? We’re made in the image of God. God sees. And theologians call this the presence of God. There is nowhere that God is not. God sees, He looks at your life and mine. He sees everything we do, say, touch, and feel. God does. There’s no such thing as a covert operation. There’s no such thing on the down low. There’s no such thing as a closed bedroom door or a car door, or office door. God sees it all.
And quite frankly, that’s why a lot of people are afraid of God. They’re afraid even to go to church because they’re afraid of the Lord’s look. They’re afraid of the gaze of God. They’re afraid. And I get it. It is like, “Wow, God’s looking at me. Looking. God’s looking at me.” The Bible says that a lot.
Have you ever thought about how much Jesus looked at people? Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Jesus looked, Jesus looked, Jesus looked, Jesus looked. What would it be like for Jesus to look at you? Wow, would that be … it’d be unbelievable wouldn’t it? Jesus just looking at you and staring at you.
The Bible says, and I’m giving you a paraphrase here, “The eyes are the windows of our soul.” When you look in a mirror what do you see? When you look in your eyes? When you look in other people’s eyes, are the curtains closed? Are the windows all fogged up? Are they broken? Are they clear? What do you see? What do you see?
In the greatest sermon ever preached, and we were there as a church. We took several hundred people a couple of months ago to Israel. We were there at the spot where Jesus preached the sermon on the mount. And the acoustics are absolutely amazing there. Here’s what he said in Matthew 6:22. “The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad your whole body will be full of darkness.”
I’ve got to ask you a straight up question. What are you looking at? Who are you looking at? How are you looking? Are you good at looking? Are you good at looking as a husband? Are you good at looking as a wife? Are you good at looking as a boss? Are you good at looking as a student? Are you good at looking?
God wants us to be good at looking because we’re made in the image of God, God sees us, and once we come to a point in our lives where we say, “All right, Jesus, come into my life. I open the door of my life and invite you in,” suddenly we’re synchronized with Jesus and we have the ability empowered by the Holy Spirit of God to look at others the way Jesus wants us to look at others.
The look of Jesus. You’ve never locked eyes with someone that Jesus didn’t die for. Powerful stuff. I don’t care if the person is a billionaire or on welfare, you’ve never locked eyes with someone who doesn’t matter to God.
How are you doing with your looks? We like to say ‘looks’ all the time. As I said earlier, “He’s good looking. She’s good looking.” We walk in the store, “May I help you?” “Oh, I’m just looking.” “Oh, man, that was a look to kill.” “Oh, the reason he scored 40 points last night was because he had a lot of looks.” We love to talk about looks and eyesight.
We have the ubiquitous eye exam. Cover one eye, A or B. One or two. D or C. And I got confused even just saying that. “I don’t know,” we say. An eye exam. An eye exam. We have blind spots, everybody does. I think we have a blind spot when it comes to eye contact. I believe we have a blind spot when it comes to seeing how deep and how fresh and how unique our eyes are. Human beings, we’re the only creatures that have these orbs, floating orbs, against a white screen. Animals don’t have it.
This morning I was in my study at dark thirty. My cat, Meow-Meow, jumped into my lap. And I looked at Meow-Meow and I couldn’t tell really where she was looking. She’s a cat. Cat eyes. Now, I guess I could see the whites of her eyes if I did that, but I wouldn’t do that to Meow-Meow.
Looked at Ada and Emma as I kissed them goodbye, as I do everyday, after I kissed Lisa. I try to make eye contact with them. It’s hard to know, they’re dogs. But I can look at you, I can tell, I can tell way back there if you’re looking. I’m talking about way way way back there if you’re looking at me. Hey, thanks for waving. Isn’t that interesting about the human being? We’re different, we’re made in the image of God. Jesus looked at people and we’re to look at others, too.
And I was thinking, “Okay, how do I improve my eyesight? How do I become, Ed, good at looking?” Well, I’m glad you ask. Number one, look up. It’s that simple. The idea’s also that profound. Look up, look up, look up. Look up to God. The bible says in Psalm 5:3 these words. It says, “In the morning, O Lord, you will hear my voice. In the morning I will lay my prayers before you and will,” let’s say that together, “look up.” Look up.
I look up to God, the first offensive energy that I utilize everyday should be to look up. I understand my motives, my mind, the meaning of what I’m about, I look up. God, I look to you. You’re God, you’re Lord, you’re sovereign over my sight. I bow before you. You’ve created my eyes for a reason. I want my eyes to be that lamp, that window that reflects you.
To be that lamp, that window that reflects you. Back in 2001, some of you weren’t born, but I was here, I did a message on Easter called Self-Portrait. I sort of tricked everyone. I majored in the fine arts. I painted this picture. I told everybody it was my portrait. I think we have a picture of it behind me. While I was speaking, as I began to paint, it looked like me, but as I continued to talk about it, specifically the eyes, I turned it into the face of Jesus. My thesis was I should reflect Jesus. I mean, in reality, that should be my portrait. It should be your portrait. We have that painting outside of our bedroom. Often, I look at it. It’s a little bit higher than my eyes, so I have to look at it. To this day, I think about what is reflected back to me when I look into the eyes of Jesus.
I’m lovable. Did you know you’re loved by the God of the universe? I’m capable. If you saw your potential, you’d go, “Shut up.” I’m forgivable. Those are just three things. As I look up, reflected back to me are those things. As a follower of Christ, whoever I look at it, I should constantly reflect. Constantly, I should say, “I’m talking to someone that matters to God. They’re capable. They’re lovable. They’re forgivable,” from my spouse to the kids, grandkids, friends, coworkers, yet we spend, I’ll say it again, 11 hours a day, the average adult, staring at screens, 11 hours a day, the recent stats. It’s up from 10 hours and 23 minute several years ago, 11 hours a day, the average adult. Could be your screens, television screens, whatever. I asked myself, “Ed, how often are you staring into God’s screen? How often are you staring into the screens of others that God’s put in my path?”
So often, when we’re having family dinners, I’ll say, “Put down your phones and come out with your hands up.” I’m going to tell you this. When you’re in a conversation with someone, if you’re making eye contact with someone, whether it’s your spouse, that special someone, a friend, coworker, whatever, and you’re talking to them, and you’re maybe in a conference room or a restaurant, and they’ve got to look down at the phone, I say to myself, “I’m done. I’m out. See ya.” Take that phone, put it in your pocket or in your purse or, if you’re really cool, your murse, guys. After the conversation, you can do that. Look up. It starts with God. All this stuff starts with God. I mean, are you looking up to God, taking your cues from him? God, I want my eyes to be lamps. Again, the eye is the lamp to the body, so look up. Don’t just look up, though. There’s something else. Look in. Say, “Look in,” with me. Look in. I love this next text because 2 Corinthians, and Paul was writing to a bunch of Christians, he was writing to this church in Corinth. Corinth was a very wild place, fast place. 2 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 5, we’ll say it together, “Look closely at yourselves. Test yourselves to see if you’re living in the faith. Don’t you realize that Christ Jesus is in you? Of course, if you fail the test, he is not in you.” This is being self-aware. I did a series on self-awareness a while back. The reason so many people are self-unaware is because they’re not looking up. They’re not taking their cues from God. When we just look inside of ourselves, away from God, you’re talking about being jacked up, you’re talking about being self-unaware. That’s why so many people are so crazy these days. We look in. We look up and, by the Spirit of God, we have the opportunity now to look in. God, I want to sync up. I want to look where you want me to look.
We see something that might cause us to go down the path of lust, we need to move our eyes. The Holy Spirit of God will prompt us. Maybe we’re fixating too much on some material possession, we move. We just move our eyes to those things that God and those people that God wants us to look at. How are you doing at looking? Are you good at looking? We look in. When we look in, we have to ask ourselves how we present ourselves to the world. I mean, how do you present yourself? How do you look? We should do everything, even our appearance should be done with excellence. I don’t mean opulence, but I mean excellence. Do you have good breath? Are you wearing deodorant? How are you looking at your spouse, guys? Are you opening car doors? Are you opening doors? Are you walking on the traffic side of the street? When you’re at a restaurant, when she gets up maybe to go the ladies room or to grab some silverware or whatever, are you standing? Are you pulling out her chair? A look. Are you shaving? Are you dressing nice?
Ladies, are you dressing nice or are you wearing that “not tonight, honey” nightgown again? I don’t know. How do you look? Guys, how do you look? “I’m going to wear these same ole cargo shorts and these Crocs I got at Bass Pro over there and this collared shirt. I really like the Oklahoma Sooners.” There’s a place for that, but everything we do should be done according to scripture in a fitting and orderly manner. You’re at a restaurant, it’s the BMW principle. B is the bread. That’s where the bread goes. M is the meal. W is the water. When you’re eating soup, you don’t do this. You move it away from you. Little things, life hacks, those things matter. How do you present yourself in your family? How do you present yourself in a dating relationship? How do you present yourself at the company or on the team? How? Look in. Very, very practical, look in.
Then, of course, we allow the Lord to look in. The Holy Spirit points out those areas, slothfulness, the way we keep our car. I mean, slothfulness, are our windows clean? Slothfulness, that’s something that we need to think about and consider, but there’s one more. It’s one of my favorites. Look out. Clap for that, look out. I need a round of applause right now. I just need that. I need some encouragement. Thank you. Thank you for that encouragement. I want that two-way conversation. Sometimes I feel like, “Am I the only one talking here?” That’s okay. We look up. Are you following me? Starts with God. We look in. Only by God’s strength and power can we really look in, can we really assess ourselves. I can’t assess myself. I have blind spots. Only the Holy Spirit of God can.
Then, I look out. Look out. Who are you looking at? How are you looking at them? Again, we turn to scripture. Philippians 2:3, “Value others as more important than yourselves.” Let me just press the pause button for example. Just press the pause button just for this example. Value others more important than yourselves. If I’m not looking up to God, there’s no way I can look in, and it’s impossible for me to do that because I like me. I want to talk about me. I’ll look at you in a conversation, and I’ll say, “Hey, how are you?” But I could care less how you’re doing because I want to talk about me. That’s why people are so narcissistic and me-istic. We’re not looking to God. Does that make sense? Because of that, we’re not assessing ourselves. Only the Holy Spirit of God can do that. Only Jesus can do that.
Then, we’re totally messed up in the way we touch. We now think all touching is sexual touching. The enemy takes a gift from God and destroys it every time, counterfeits it every time. Now, we can’t look. We have to look with looks of lust, with looks of envy, with looks of jealousy as opposed to looking at the potential in someone’s life. When I do this exercise with my eyes, look to God, God looked at me and he gives me the ability. Then, I look out and I value others as more important than myself. Now, verse 4 says, “None of you should look out just for your own good. Each of you should also look out for the good of others.” How are you looking? We have a lot of good looking people here. I mean, Fellowship Church is known as a good looking church. Give yourselves another round of applause. You’re good looking, but are you good, am I good at looking? Very convicting. Are you looking at those orbs against that white screen, that white backdrop? Are you doing that? There are different ways that we look at people.
I’ve done a lot of marriages. Back in the day, when I worked as a pastor at my father’s church in Houston, I was kind of like the wedding master. I did the wedding whisperer. Buy that domain, weddingwhisperer.com. Anyway, I would do all these weddings, hundreds of weddings. When I do a wedding, I normally have these repeated vows. I do the response vows. The response vows would be, “Ed, will you take Lisa to be your lawful wedded wife? Will you?” “I will. “Lisa, will you likewise manner take this man? Will you?” “I will.” That’s the response vows. Then, I do the repeated vows. This is where it gets really sexy. It’s okay to say sexy to these people getting married. I’ll say, “Would you please give your bouquet to the maid of honor? Would you face each other, hold hands, and look into each others’ eyes? Because the eyes are the windows of our soul. Would you repeat these words, not to me? Sometimes they’re so nervous, they’ll look at me. You’re not marrying me. Look at her. Say these words to her. With this ring. “With this ring.” I thee wed. “I thee wed.” I give to you my life. “I give to you my life.” In the name of the Father. “What?” They’re so nervous, in the name of the father, I’ll have to repeat it. In the name of the Son, the name of the Holy Spirit. And I get them to do that.
You would not believe the connectivity. I mean, the commitment, the covenant. The sensuality. The love. And I’m saying to myself, during this time, I’m going, “Ed, you are good, man. You’ve tied the knot again. You’re gonna sign the marriage license and off they go to marital bliss for the next 73 years. Good job.” Yeah. Because the Bible says encourage yourself in the Lord.
How could a husband and wife who were looking at each other that lovingly, that longingly, that emotionally, how, how could they, five, ten years later have looks of hatred toward one another? Looks of disdain toward one another? Looks of divorce towards one another? And then, they look to the lawyers to come in and clean up the pieces. I understand. Part of it definitely is touch. And part of it, yeah, is a look.
Because Jesus said, a look, our eyes, are the lamps to our bodies. How are you looking at those people that matter to you? How are you looking? How do you forget that you’re good-looking? Are you good at looking?
How do you do with eye contact? I speak for a living, that’s what I do. No one has ever taught me anything about eye contact. Now here’s what some of the guys were saying, “Well I taught my son that uh, look somebody in the eye and give them a firm handshake.” I’m not talking about that, Jack. My father taught me that too. Have you ever learned the art of eye contact? Let’s talk about that, very practical. Because the eyes, after all, are the windows of our soul. I mean, Jesus talked about it in the greatest sermon ever preached. He talked about the eyes over and over and over.
How do you talk to someone? You’re at a party. Background music and you, you kind of get the rhythm going and you talk to this person, right? And so, you’re like talking, and if you’re like me, I’m thinking, “I’m staring too long at this person. This is awkward.” You’ve been there too, haven’t you? What do I do? Do I look at his unibrow? Do I look at the floor? Do I look over his head? I do and I do this all the time!
What do you do? Five seconds. Count to five with me. One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand four, one thousand five. All right. I look at my man right here on the front row that I know. I don’t want to call his name out. I don’t want to embarrass him. Five second rule. One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand four, one thousand five. Then I’ve got to do something. At five seconds, and practice this in front of the mirror. At five seconds, I have got a major, major decision relationally to make. I either glance to the left a little bit and reengage. I glance to the right a little bit, maybe you’re right-handed, right-eyed. Reengage. I do that. Or I continue to stare.
Now here is where it gets scary. If I continue to stare, the other person’s like, “I’m gonna see this guy featured on a Netflix documentary. I saw the Ted Bundy thing. Maybe this guy’s a serial killer.” How many people, I mean, I’ve talked to some people with some crazy eyes. You think this is not, church, I’m telling you, I’m gonna make this mean something, just wait. Five seconds. “Well I don’t know how long five seconds is. Do I check my watch? Got an Apple watch.”
No. Go home, look in the mirror and just test yourself. Just like, start talking five seconds. One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand four, one thousand five. And then reconnect. Does that make sense? Does that help you? Helps me. I just learned that this week. Don’t stare.
There was this guy, I don’t want to mention names, but his name was Wayne. This guy freaked me out. I loved this guy, but when he talks to you, this is what he would do. I promise you. He would talk to me, he would go, he would call me Pastor, “Hey Pastor, how you doing?” “Doing fine Wayne.” “Well, I wanted to talk to you about technology and technology is very important because if you utilize technology, we can have a paperless church.” Everything. Whoa. See the whites of the guy’s eyes. And after awhile, I tried to avoid him. It never failed. When he looks at you, the eyes get bigger, and bigger. Ah!
And other people, you know, their eyes, they won’t look at you. And you’re like … And other people kind of look like this. They look. And how about the person that won’t look you in the eye, looks down? You know what that means? I’m insecure. Or they won’t look at you in the eyes. Many times, not all the times, they are bold-faced liars. Talking to a liar. Because when we look at someone in the eye, we’re being vulnerable. We’re showing connection and compassion. You can look in someone’s eyes and see their soul. So if you’re talking to someone or listening to someone, five seconds.
Five seconds, you got it? If I’m talking again, let me say this again, to a group of people, I can’t just look at the front row the whole time. You’re gonna be like, “What’s wrong with the front row? Ed you’ve lost your mind, man.” I’ve gotta scan. Now this is a very large group, I don’t know how often you’ll speak in groups this large, but let’s say you’re talking to a family and you’re talking to Aunt Janet and you want to talk though to the whole family. So you don’t just stare down Aunt Janet. You don’t just look at Aunt Janet and disregard the rest of the family. But anyway, Aunt Janet. At Aunt Janet, no, no. Look at the whole family. One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, boom, Aunt Janet. One thousand one, one thousand two.
Now, those crazy expressions are expressions that I’ve seen in all of my conversations. How do you know if you’re connecting with the person who’s talking? You don’t know this. I know you don’t. I didn’t. Maybe a few of you would. You just kind of go, during the five seconds, “Hmm. Ah. Okay. Very interesting.” Boom. Right or left. Don’t look down. Don’t look around. You do that. Just some life hacks. It’ll help you.
You shake hands. A firm handshake. Pump the hand a couple of times. Grab the web of the hand. No finger grab. No bone crusher. Just look the person in the eye. One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand five. Boom. Okay? And then we reengage.
I want us to be good at looking. Good at touching, because Jesus has touched us. Jesus looked at the teeth of the sin of the world and died on the cross for our sins and rose again. The Bible says that God can’t even look at sin. He turned his back. He turned his gaze from his son, elsewhere while Jesus was dying for the iniquities of the world. Then Jesus rose again and he looked at you and me with resurrection eyes and he says to you, “You’re capable. You’re lovable. You’re forgivable.” So look up, look in and look out, and you’ll see the souls of others.
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]