Gestures – Week 1
“Here is the Church”
(Norman, OK launch)
August 5, 2018
Pastor Ed Young
The way we communicate varies greatly from person to person, place to place, and message to message. But some things, like gestures, translate beyond language and demographics. In this historic message in the life of Fellowship Church, Pastor Ed Young teaches us a series of simple hand motions that communicate the power and purpose of the local church. When we understand what these gestures mean in and for our lives, we discover just how much God wants to use our lives to tell His story!
[Pastor Clark Mitchell introduces Pastor Ed Young as the new pastor, and the launch of Fellowship Norman]
Wow it’s great to be here at Journey Church. And I want to tell you something. Clark and Robin and their family have done an absolute magnificent job over the last 17 years. And the amazing thing about this is we are the church. And we’re simply blending churches. Clark will continue to do, I believe he and Robin both, incredible things for God. Because at Fellowship Church, Clark is going to help us with church development internationally, and also nationally, and some other projects that Clark and I have talked about. And who even knows what these projects are Clark. But Clark, I want to honor you and thank you for this time. And welcome Journey Church into the Fellowship family! Pastor Clark Mitchell!
Please be seated. My name is Ed Young and I’m pastor of Fellowship Church and we have a new name. It’s called Fellowship Norman. That’s the new name of the church.
As I said, you know, Clark and I will be teaming up to do a lot of exciting things together. But I’m telling you what, the future is so, so bright right here in this incredible location.
Now, you might be saying, “Well, what is Fellowship Church? Who is Fellowship Church? Where have you been? Where are you? Where are we going?” Well I’m glad you’re thinking those questions. [VIDEO RECAP OF FELLOWSHIP CHURCH]
I want all of us to stand to our feet here in all of our different environments, and I want us to give the Mitchell family a crazy round of applause and a standing ovation. For the sacrifice, for the vision, for the leadership, for the creativity, for the innovation. And now for this amazing partnership. Please be seated.
I love to watch people talk. Because 93% of all communication is nonverbal. We just involved ourselves in a nonverbal vibe. Clapping, the standing ovation, honoring a great soldier of God. Gestures.
So often gestures say things that I just can’t say. As I’ve been walking around this beautiful complex, I’ve watched people talk. And I’ve been checking out your gestures. Some are like. I saw a few like… Others were like… A few were like… And on the freeway, I saw some gestures that I can’t do from this stage. Gestures.
Motions have meanings. They really do. Our God made us in his image. Thus, we have this desire to communicate, do we not? And one of the ways we communicate is through gestures. So, I thought we would study over the next couple of weeks here at Fellowship Church, I thought we would study gestures. Because gestures have a deep and profound meaning. What I might think is just, “Yeah peace man.” Or what I might think as no big deal, “Bye,” but those are packed with meaning.
So gestures mean something. Our motions have meaning. Say that with me. Our motions have meaning, yeah. And just watch over the next several weeks. Just watch people’s gestures. You know. Gestures, gestures. Our motions have meaning.
I was thinking back in my life, you know, thinking way back in the past, and thinking about gestures. I thought, you know what, the first set of gestures I ever learned, I learned in church. And you probably know this, but would you please do this with me? You’ve probably seen this before. I learned this in Sunday school. Here’s the church. There’s the steeple. Open the doors and see all the people!
Now for it to work, you got to wiggle your fingers, because my Sunday school teacher would say, that means life, that people are connected and together. Here’s the church, there’s the steeple, open the doors and see all the people. I remember that. I mean I don’t remember the lesson the next week or the next week or the next week. But I remember that. Our motions have meaning.
Here’s the church. What does that mean? Here’s the church. We are the church. We’re carriers of the church. Because the moment someone becomes a follower of Christ we’re born again into the family of God, the church of the body of Christ. We’re family. Thus, we carry the church. You’re a carrier. I’m a carrier of the church. And that’s something that should stun us, and stagger us, and give us great accountability and responsibility.
But it’s our foundation. The church is our foundation. Here’s the church. That’s our foundation.
One day Jesus was talking about this and he compared the church to a rock. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “…upon this rock I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Then in 1 Corinthians 3:11, Saint Paul wrote, “For no one can lay any foundation,” there’s the word again, “other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Our foundation is Jesus Christ. This church is built on the rock Jesus Christ. Who are we about? What are we about? Jesus Christ. And his word. His word.
What I love about Clark is he’s a man of his word, and a man of God’s word. Over the 17 years when Clark has had a question, he doesn’t say, “What do I feel, what do I think, or what does this group?” He says, “What does the word of God say?” And we’re a people under the word of God. It’s our authority. It’s our truth.
Isn’t it funny how people these days say, “Well that’s your truth, or that’s your truth, or that’s my truth.” That’s really false. You have opinions. That’s your opinion. That’s not your truth. I have my opinion. Opinion is different than the truth. Your opinion is one thing. The truth is another.
ILLUS: For example, like I say, my opinion is. Okay, my opinion is tomorrow morning when I go to Chick-fil-A (because they’re closed on Sundays), my opinion is when I go to Chick-fil-A tomorrow and order a 100% Angus beef sandwich, my opinion is, even though I ordered that in Chick-fil-A, my opinion is they serve the best beef anywhere. But my opinion really doesn’t matter. Even when I order it, I’m sure the girl will go, “My pleasure.” I know that’ll happen. But that’s just my opinion. The truth is, Chick-fil-A doesn’t serve beef. Chicken.
So, it doesn’t matter how strong my opinion is. “Oh yeah, that’s my strong opinion. That’s truth to me.” No, it’s not truth, Ed. That’s your opinion.
So, the beautiful thing about the body of Christ is we’re based on Jesus. And it’s not about someone’s opinion. It’s not about someone saying, “Well I think.” No, no, no. It is about the word of God. We’re built on the rock.
ILLUS: Now when I was driving around today, I saw a truck, a cool pickup truck. And it had a foundation company ad on the side of the truck. Whose truck is that, the foundation company? Somebody, all right, I love that. This guy right here. What’s your name sir? Zack, I guarantee this guy right here has forgotten more than anyone in here knows about foundation. And Zack will tell you, man the foundation is critical. You got to build your house on a great foundation. And Zack can go in there, because he’s under attack, and he can see if the foundation is off, or is jacked up or whatever. And he can fix your foundation.
There’s nothing like a solid foundation. Jesus is our foundation. It’s like maybe, you CrossFit, or maybe you’re into body building or power lifting or whatever. Have you ever seen these guys walking around the gym, they look like a martini glass? You know big ol’ upper body, and little teeny martini glass legs. Well they’ve not done, you know, squats. I mean, anyone will tell you, the best exercise to build a solid foundation, if you’re going to be strong and buff, ripped, stoked, whatever it is, you’ve got to work out on the foundation.
So, I want you to notice something. Here’s the church, the rock. That’s right, it’s built on Jesus, our foundation.
Question. And this is a question God will ask you one day. But I thought I would preempt God. I really can’t do that, but let’s just say I could. Here’s what God’s going to ask you one day. “What are you doing with the church?” One day when we clock out of here, when our ticket is punched, God’s going to look at you and me and go, “What did you do with my church?” Because the only thing he ever built, Jesus ever built, was the church. That’s it.
So, here’s the church. That’s our foundation. There’s the steeple. That’s location. The steeple, the steeple. There are a lot of steeples in our land today, a bunch of steeples. But there are a lot of big steeple, few people churches. Have you noticed that? But a steeple’s cool because a steeple says, “Here I am, there’s the church.”
And I love, with this location, how it’s all freeways and you can see it. Wow, okay. I see the church. As I said earlier, you’re carriers. I’m a carrier of all of these things. I’m a carrier of the fact that the rock is Jesus. I’m a carrier of the fact that what. I’m located, and Jesus is located, check this out, in my life.
The Bible says our bodies are a temple, a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit of God. In other words, my body is the church where Jesus lives. He lives within me, so I’m a carrier of that. I’m a carrier of the church.
So, the foundation, ba-boom. No martini glass legs. No, no, no. Jesus is my rock. That’s the foundation. The location. I have Jesus with me. He’s with me. He’s inside my life. And that’s how someone becomes a follower of Christ. You have to ask Jesus into your life.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God’s not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.”
It’s so funny how the world is up in our grill all the time. I mean, they don’t care about offending us. Why not stand? When I say, “Okay, this is it, I’m on the rock.” This is my foundation. My location is Jesus. And Jesus is the way. He is the truth. He is the life. We have this opportunity.
ILLUS: I went to Las Vegas for the first time maybe 10 years ago. And my wife and I, Lisa, were driving down the strip. And I was like, Lisa, I’ve never seen signage like this in my life. Blinking signs, and billboard signs, and signs on people’s backs. And I’m like “Wow, the signage!” Then I said, “Lisa, Las Vegas has nothing to say, but they know how to say it. The church, we have everything to say, and so often, we don’t know how to say it!”
Question. And again, God is going to ask you and me this question. Is this your location? Or is it just part of a rotation? “Yeah I’ll show up once every four weeks. Yeah, I’ll show up once every six weeks if there’s a cool series happening.”
(And in fact, four weeks from now, we’re doing a series called wrestling. Our special guests, two of ’em, the Undertaker, Ric Flair, and the Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase.)
“Oh, I’m comin’ to that. Now, I’m not going to show up for “Gestures,” but I’ll be there. Man, Nature Boy, woo, I’m there!”
If I am going to discover the greatness that God has for my life, I’ve got to build my life on his foundation, and the location has got to be my foundation as well. It can’t just be a part of that rotation.
Here’s the church. That’s the foundation. Here’s the steeple, the location. So, when people look at you and me they should go, “Wow, something’s different about him!”
Open the doors. I love that part, open the doors. You know what that means? That’s basically the invitation. Open the doors. Doors everywhere. Doors here, doors there, doors everywhere. I love this facility, because there’s so many different doors.
Every time Jesus talked about something metaphorically, it had to do with penetration. Think about it. He said, “I’m salt.” Salt penetrates food. “I’m leaven.” Leaven penetrates the bread. “I’m water.” Water penetrates the soil. “I’m light.” Light penetrates the darkness. “I’m the door.”
Well what was he talking about when he said that? Was he saying “I am a door” literally? Well let’s see what he said. John 10:9-10. “I am the door,” Jesus said. Not a door. Not one of the doors. No, I am the door. “Whoever,” and I love that whoever. We’re a church of the whoever. Whoever, whoever.
ILLUS: Lisa and I went to a grocery store, a grand opening, several months ago. This grocery store was really cool, is really cool. And it has the ubiquitous electronic doors. And I watch people from all walks of life, different socioeconomic levels, different races. They would walk up to that electronic door. The door never said “Oh, stop. You’re too wealthy. Stop, you’re the wrong skin color. Stop, do you realize what you did last night?” No, whoever stepped on the pad.
I don’t care where you are today. Jesus wants to meet you where you are. You take a step. Because Jesus said, “I am the door. Whoever enters through me will be saved, he will come in and out.” That means you’ll be safe. “…and find pasture.” satisfied.
Freedom always has fences. People say, “I just want ultimate freedom man. I just want to do whatever I want to do.”
No, no, no. That’s not freedom, that’s chaos. For example, God builds fences around marriage for a reason. Marriage, it’s a shelter for our passions and purpose. It’s a shelter that reflects Christ’s relationship with his people. Powerful, there are fences in marriage. They are fences around families that God has placed. There are fences around our desires. Fences for a reason.
So, we walk through the door and we’re saved, we’re safe, we’re satisfied. I love the picture behind this, because Jesus was talking about a shepherd. Because back in the day, a shepherd, let’s say he was in the wilderness, he would make a sheepfold. He would use trees, and bushes, and rocks and things to make this enclosure. The sheep would go in for the night. There would be an opening. And the shepherd would literally lie down and become the door. So, the sheep couldn’t go in or out unless they went through and over the shepherd.
So, when Jesus said, “I am the door,” he was saying, “I’m it. I am it. I am the way, the truth, and the life.” You want to know peace? You want to know forgiveness? It’s through the door. Have you walked through the door? It’s the invitation.
Here’s a question. Who have you extended an invitation to? Who have you invited? Who are you praying for? Who have you engaged? Who have you said, “You know what, God has placed me on your heart. God has put me and you’re in my mind, and I want to walk through that door to talk to you about walking through the door.”
Because if you pray high-risk prayers like that, God will bring about invitations to share him with others that you meet. Invitation.
You know, in a couple of moments, I’m going to give you an invitation. I’m going to give you a chance to invite Jesus into your life. But in reality, the invitation is predetermined by the invitations that you’ve given people during the week. It’s great for me to say “Okay, you have an opportunity right now to give Christ your life, to open the door of your life to Jesus. You have an opportunity.” Okay great. But for the most responses, for the most people to come into the family, you’ve got to be doing the work to invite. So do I. Invitation, invitation.
Last one. Here’s the church. That’s the foundation. Here’s the steeple. That’s the location. Open the doors, invitation. And see all the people. You got to wiggle the people. That’s salvation. The people are alive. The people are connected. The people are in relationship. The people are in community. See all the people.
Galatians 1:3-4, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age.”
The prophet Isaiah said over in the Old Testament, when the people cried to the Lord for help, he will send them a savior who will rescue them.
Another question. When was the last time you shared your rescue story with someone? I mean you were rescued. So was I. We were saved. You mean you’re not going to share that with someone? Because the rescue story has kind of some elements to it like, “I was drowning. I was going under. And someone shared with me what Jesus did for me. He extended his hand to me, rescued me by grace through faith. And now, here’s what’s happened. So, before the rescue I was drowning. I got rescued and now here’s what’s happening.”
I promise you, if you pray, “Hey God, give me an opportunity to share my rescue story,” I’ll bet you cash money, over the next seven to 14 days, you’ll have a chance to do that. It doesn’t mean you have to have the person bow in your board room and repent right there. But it means God will give you opportunities to share and engage and invite them into this relationship. And the great thing about the adventure of the Lord is you can feel and know the Holy Spirit’s nudging you. And you take a step out. Wow, this is right. You take that righteous risk. And it’s like “Wow. I’m in the process of the rescue!”
ILLUS: I love to fish. You know, fishing is a biblical sport. I hope you know that. Jesus said, “Followers fish.” And people say “Ed, what do you like to fish for?” If it has fins and scales, I’ll chase it. Even if it doesn’t have scales, catfish, alligator gar, well gar has a big scale, but they’re kind of weird scales. I’ll fish for it.
I was fishing in the ocean one day a couple years ago in a 16-foot boat, had a great day fishing. Sun was setting. We were turning into the marina. The marina was right there, I mean, from me to the back wall. And I happened to look to my left. And over the roar of the engine I saw a boat. And then I saw a guy thrashing and splashing about 100 yards behind the boat waving his arms. I told my friend, “Hey, Beau! Something’s wrong with that guy man. Either a shark is attacking him or he’s drowning!”
So we cruise over there. And the dude is drowning. Problem, he’s bigger than the Undertaker. This dude was like 6’8″, seriously 340. I’m thinking, “How can we get him in the boat? He’s going to capsize us. We’re going to drown trying to rescue this guy!”
And he was like slurping down salt water, waving frantically, panicky. So, I grab one paw, my friend grabbed the other, and we drug this behemoth into the boat. He was throwing up. He was like “Thank you, thank you. Thank you for rescuing me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
And then, when he got his composure, I’ll never forget this, we drove to his boat. He jumped from our boat to his boat. And I looked back, and he went back to fishing.
So then, we cruise into the marina. And you know we’re no wake zone. ‘Cause you know, you can’t throw a wake. So, you know, I’m going, “Man, look at these boats in this marina. I mean there’s some sick boats in this marina!”
And I see this one boat. This boat, easy, is hundreds of thousands of dollars. And I see Mr. CrossFit standing on the bow. I mean this guy’s ripped, eight pack, you know. Standing there. Flashes the million-dollar smile. He waved at us. I’m thinking, this is interesting. We just rescued a guy and this guy, you know, was right there. If he’d have looked, he would have seen the guy drowning. But he was waving at us. And then his, hopefully his wife or girlfriend, walked up. And she had on the resemblance of a bikini. I’ve seen more cotton in an aspirin bottle than what she had on. But anyway, he then slapped her on the rear.
And I thought to myself, “Wow. That’s like most churches I know. The marina mentality. Tied up, anchored, smiling, waving, and whacking each other on the rear while people are drowning and going to Hell all around us.”
We are not a marina. We’re not a yacht club. We’re a rescue society! Who in your life is drowning? Who in your life is waving frantically? Who?
Here’s the church. There’s the steeple. Open the doors and see all the rescued people.
[Ed ends in closing prayer]