January 8-9, 2011
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I don’t know about you, but I have always been fascinated by escalators. Escalators are everywhere you go these days. They’re in malls, they’re in airports, they’re in sporting arenas. Escalators basically move masses of people from one level to another. My wife had a crazy experience on an escalator. When she was younger she tripped. Her long hair got caught in the steps, and they had to shut the thing down before it literally scalped her. So, today before we walk on an escalator today, Lisa does the Escalator Shuffle. It’s amazing. I told her, “Lisa, just keep walking. You don’t have to shuffle.” But because she had an escalator problem she always hesitates before she elevates.
When you talk about an escalator you have to talk about levels because basically you’re either going up or down. You’re either ascending or descending. Over the next couple of moments, in fact over the next several sessions, I’m going to talk about something that if you put into practice, it will take your life upward. Because think about your steps. Where are you walking? How are you walking? What is the thing that we need to practice? It’s something called honor. Honor elevates. Dishonor decimates.
Let’s face it. Honor is something countercultural. When you choose to honor you go against the grain. I mean, it’s like climbing up an escalator when it’s going the opposite direction. In our culture today we honor dishonor. It seems like everywhere you turn you run into dishonor. On the freeways, at stores, school, at the company. Here’s the thing about dishonor. Dishonor will take your steps downward instead of upward. It always takes you places you don’t want to go rather than places you want to be. When you dishonor something you treat something as common. When you honor something you treat it as uncommon. Honor always, always elevates. Things go better with honor. It elevates marriages, careers, teams, it elevates your thought life, it elevates your friendships. Honor always elevates.
Over the couple of moments, in fact, over the next several sessions we’re gonna talk about bringing honor back. Because things go better with honor.
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How are you guys doing today? I almost didn’t even come to church. I can’t believe you’re here. I seriously was like wanting to sleep in. Cold. Rainy. I turned over and said, “Lisa, I don’t wanna go to church.”
She goes, “You’ve got to.”
I said, “Why?”
She said, “You’re the pastor!”
So I’m here. Thank you for being here. Thank you so much for being here.
Let me ask you a question. Has anybody been sick at all? Anybody in your household? Any of you guys? I’m sick right now. I have a virus right now. In fact, let me get a camera up here. I’ve got a swollen uvula. You know that thing that hangs down the back of your throat? This thing is like dragging on the base of my tongue right now, so if it kinda comes out of my mouth while I’m speaking today just get ready. You won’t believe this. This is gross but check this out. Check this uvula. It’s swollen, and I’m on medication so…
You see that? Where’s the light? We have to get this. You won’t believe it. I looked at it in the mirror and my doctor saw it and he’s like, “That’s incredible!” Watch this. A swollen uvula! That will mess you up, but I’m here at church!
So I want to talk to you about a virus of victory. Honor. We all should be carriers of honor. It’s a virus of victory. Honor is the Feng Shui of faith. I will say it again. Honor is the Feng Shui of faith, because order affects outcome. When we have the right order, when we have the right priorities, what’s gonna happen? Our outcome will really soar.
Our world honors dishonor. Am I the only one who sees that? We honor dishonor, yet then we dishonor honor. We see dishonor everywhere.
I don’t know about you, but I like a world with honor. I like a world where we honor the badge. I like a world where we honor our elders. I like a world where spouses honor spouses and kids honor their parents, where students honor their teachers and where teammates honor coaches. I like a world of honor and I’m for bringing honor back. I’m for tacking into the wind, swimming against the current, going against the flow, bringing honor back.
When I talk about dishonor I’m not really talking about disrespect. You could say that. Dishonor really is treating something as common, something as pedestrian, something as just same old same old. If I honor somebody or something, I am giving it great value. I’m putting it up on a pedestal. I’m going, “Wow!”
Some of you right now are like, “Ed, that sounds good, my brother, but I didn’t grow up in a home where there was a lot of honor going on.” I feel your pain. We’re going to talk about that. I happened to grow up in a home that had some honor going on, but I have talked to a lot of people who tell me that all the time.
“I can’t give honor to my spouse. I didn’t grow up that way.”
“I can’t give honor to my kids. I didn’t grow up that way.”
“I can’t give honor to my boss. I didn’t grow up that way.”
How about this one. How do you honor somebody who is dishonorable? Isn’t it true that God puts you and me in situations to build honor, and oftentimes we will be in situations where we have to honor people who are card-carrying jerks. Let’s just be honest. That is tough, man!
But I am going to challenge you over the next several weeks to think about those things. We’re going to unpack those things. But I’m also going to challenge you when you’re in control of situations and conversations to put yourself around honorable people. People who hold honor at a high, high level. People who first of all honor God. Because God is a God of honor. We have this bandwidth for honor. We live the lives of dishonor, the Bible says, we were separated from God due to our dishonor.
Well where did this honor begin? That’s a good question, a good place to start. Dishonor began way back in the Garden. I’m talking about the Garden of Eden. Everything was about honor. Adam and Eve honored God and the enemy came in and the enemy tempted and tested their honor and said, “Hey, why don’t you treat God as common? Why don’t you kind of get him out of order and put yourself above God? You can become like God.”
Man, because we have a freedom of decision, made that choice. Because of that we were separate from God. We have this sin nature in our lives. If you don’t believe me, if you don’t believe in the sin nature, just have a couple of kids and watch them and you’ll see the sin nature. I just love to sin and so do you. It’s just something that we’re wired to do. God didn’t wire us that way, but our depravity does. We have this southward, downward gravitational pull. I don’t know about you but it’s easy for me to get into dishonor. How about you? It’s easy to decline into disrespect and dishonor. It’s an easy thing.
What did God do? God saw you and me in our dishonor; he saw mankind in this dishonor. God sent Jesus to live an honorable life, a perfect life, to die a sacrificial death. If we receive that, if we receive the grace of God, something we don’t deserve – what’s grace? Unmerited honor – if we receive that, we can become carriers of charis. Say charis with me. The word charis is the Greek word for grace. Once we receive it we can become carriers of grace and we’ll see that honor is our ally.
Grace starts with God. Honor starts with God. We bow the knee to Him, we receive Him, and we begin to honor people because we’re honoring God. We need to reboot and reset our lives regularly. If we don’t we’ll freeze up, just like computers. God gives us enough grace for a 24-hour period. My grace, the Bible says, is sufficient. The writer says God’s grace is sufficient for today. And that’s an awesome, awesome word.
Think about the devil. If you Google the devil you’ll come up with Lucifer, you’ll come up with Satan. Basically the devil means adversary. It means against. God is a God of honor. It’s all over God. It’s who God is. Think about the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is honor within the Trinity. Equal in form, unique in function.
The devil is all about rebellion. He’s against God, he’s about dishonor. Read his biographical sketch. He was all about honor in the heavenlies. Before he messed up, before he made the decision to dishonor God he was the lynchpin, he was the deal for honor. He was all about reflecting honor to God. One day, though, he put himself – he got everything out of order, right? – over God. And check out this personal pronoun. Isaiah 14:13-15. This is the Devil. “I will ascend to heaven. I will raise my throne above the stars of God. I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds. I will make myself like the Most High.” He had an I problem.
When I have an I problem, when you have an I problem, we’ve got an honor problem. We will always descend into dishonor.
Well, the Bible just really, really gets strong in 1 Samuel 15:23. “For rebellion (and that’s who the devil is) is as the sin of witchcraft.”
So check this out. This is tough stuff. Whenever we’re dishonorable, whenever we descend into dishonor, we’re more like the devil than at any other time. That’s how serious God is about honor. We’re created with his bandwidth for honor, yet we honor dishonor, we do our own thing our own way. We get our order all messed up and then the outcome is not very pretty. God promises, though, that he gives us the strength and ability to bring honor back. It starts with God and it segues back into the most important relationships in our lives. We can carry this victorious virus.
T.S. Well, let’s look at a little confrontation in a situation regarding honor. If you have your Bible turn to the Gospel of Mark. Mark is in the New Testament. Mark 6.
Jesus has been on a ministry roll, miracle after miracle, just doing all of these things that are snapping peoples’ heads. No one can believe it. Opinion polls are sky-high. If you read about his three-year ministry, the first time he went to Nazareth they tried to kill him. His homeboys tried to take him out. Now he decides to go back to Nazareth. Are you ready for that? Going back with his disciples. So he’s rolling into Nazareth. We’ll pick up in Mark 6:1.
“Jesus left there (that’s Capernaum) and went to his home town accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came he began to teach and many who heard him were amazed.”
They were leaning in, they were like, whoa! Say whoa with me…. Whoa! We’ll come back to that in a second.
“Where did this man get these things?” verse 2 says. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him that he even does miracles?”
Well, the question of what and where did he get this stuff; it’s one of two questions, either God or Satan. That’s the deal. And if you look and as you keep reading and you think about the tenor of this whole scenario you’ve got confusion going on.
The people, Jesus’ homeboys, were confused. You hear me say this all the time. People who are confused don’t really understand that they’re confused. If they understood they were confused they wouldn’t be confused. So a lot of us in this place are confused and we don’t know it. It’s like you’re lost but you don’t know you’re lost until one day you’re like, “Whoa! My GPS tells me I’m lost.” Or maybe you call your spouse. “I guess I’m lost.” Are you confused?
They were confused about the order. They were rejecting the Messiah. They were rejecting Jesus. They were confused. And whenever we’re confused about our order, whenever we’re confused about honor, whenever honor is not right, what’s going to happen? The outcome is going to be dismal.
However, true honor, getting our priorities right, is the Feng Shui of faith. And if we have God at the top, I’m telling you, everything is going to have an awesome outcome. So confusion was one thing they were struggling with. If you want to descend into dishonor, just live in confusion.
The second thing was they were casual. They were casual about Jesus. “Hey, isn’t this the carpenter?” the Bible says. That’s what they were talking about, that’s what Jesus was called. For three decades of his life, carpenter. Hammer and nails. That’s the sound he was familiar with. He was familiar with the hammer and nails, those sounds, more than he was the cheers and the jeers of the audience. And what’s so interesting, it was those two items, hammers and nails that put him on a cross to die for our dishonor. That was interesting.
Why was Jesus a carpenter? I mean, Nazareth, wrong side of the tracks. Nazareth, the Bible says, what good comes from Nazareth? Just common people. He was a carpenter. Why a carpenter? He as responsible from the foundation to the finish out. Why a carpenter? Because carpenters build stuff and that’s what Jesus wants to do. That’s why I’m doing this entire series. Jesus wants to build honor in your life and mine. He wants us to bring honor back.
We can’t treat him or others as casual. We have never locked eyes with someone that Christ didn’t die for. We’ve never locked eyes with someone that God has not honored by the death of his Son, Jesus. “Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son?”
Read here, guys. I mean that’s like the worst insult you could give a guy. You never said, “He’s Mary’s son.” No, no, no. When you talk about a son you’d say, “Oh his father is… He’s the son of this guy…” What? Mary’s son? That’s a slap in the face. That’s trash talking in epic proportions. And the brother of James. Who’s James? He wrote the book of James. Joseph, Judas, he wrote the book of Jude, and Simon. Are his sisters here with us? These disparaging questions. They were just casual with Jesus. He was just common.
And can’t that happen? It’s so easy to dishonor our spouse because she’s just common. After all we’ve been married for 28 years. It’s just common. I mean, I’ve been married for a while, Ed. He’s just common. I’ve been hanging around with this friend and this friend is all about honor, but I kind of take it for granted. Kids, you take your parents for granted. You know what it’s called? It’s called habituation. Habituation.
Illus: Lisa and I live near the airport. We’ve been there for seven years and planes fly over all the time. All the noises, the sky is lit up with planes. We’re oblivious to them. Habituation. The first couple of months we were like, “Whoa! Look! Wow!” Now it’s like, part of the deal. People come to visit us and they’re like, “Man, last night I couldn’t even sleep! It felt like planes were landing on your house, Ed!” Habituation.
Illus: Speaking of planes, years ago Dad was in a plane crash. He was in a real cool private planes with four of the pastors from the church and everything shut down. They crash-landed in a field, knocked off the wings, the landing gear. They all walked away miraculously from this wreck. Just walked through this muddy field for several miles. They were spared. Mom was telling me the other day, “You know what I do for your Dad every Sunday, Ed.” And of course I knew what she was gonna say because every Sunday, every Sunday my mother irons Dad’s suit. I can see her right now. She did it this morning, I will bet you cash money, in the laundry room ironing his suit. And I said,
“Dad why do you worry about having your suit ironed? I mean you put it on and you get in the car and it gets wrinkled anyway.” I mean, I’m all for ironing stuff but that’s, I don’t know, a little bit obsessive compulsive. Anyway he does it. You know how our parents are. He’s a little bit unique. We’re unique, too, everybody is. And mom said,
“You know, I was ironing your father’s suit the Sunday after the plane crash. And I was just ironing it and thinking, ‘I can’t believe I’m ironing his suit again. We’ve been married for 32 years and I’m ironing that suit.’”
And she said then she looked, and over in the corner of the laundry room were those muddy shoes. And she said, “Oh God, forgive me for treating my husband, for treating this task as trivial.”
I pray that we see those muddy shoes. Do you see those muddy shoes in your family? Those muddy shoes around the office? Those muddy shoes in your home? Those muddy shoes? Because we have an opportunity right now to bring honor back. Right now we can seize the day, seize the moment. And we’re going to talk about this over the next several sessions. Don’t wait until someone dies. Don’t wait until a golden anniversary. Don’t wait for the birthday. Somebody honor somebody.
Confusion. Being ignorant, causal, commonplace with Jesus and others will mess you up.
And then it always leads to pride, to being conceited. Real quick, Mark 6:3. “They took offense at him.” And then Jesus said in the last few verses, beginning in verse 4, “Only in his home town and among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”
Again, honor is the Feng Shui of faith. He could not do any miracles there. I mean he could but he chose not to. Why? A lack of faith.
Where you have these three seeds going on, confusion, this casualness, this pride thing, this conceit, you’re not going to have faith. You’re not going to see and know and experience, friends, the power of God. Without honor God’s not going to show up.
“So he could not do any miracles there except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.”
I want to be a part of the few. How about you? That’s why we’re doing this series on honor. We can be a part of the few! And he was amazed at their lack of faith.
T.S. Real quick, let’s go 3-D. You know what Jesus did? This is crazy, man. Jesus never returned to Nazareth. The first D, let’s go 3-D, I don’t want to live a uni-dimensional life but a 3-D life, height, width, and depth.
#1 – Detach. In 2011, detach. Right now detach yourself from conversations and situations that descend into dishonor. That’s what Jesus did. He’s like, “I’m not going back there. They don’t honor me. Their faith is funky. I mean, they don’t get it. They don’t see it. They don’t understand it. I’m not going back there.”
In those situations that we can’t control we’ve got to say, “Lord, I’m going to stay away from conversations and situations that lead me into dishonor.”
Where are those places? What are those conversations? That’s why the local church is so important.
To be planted in the house, when we’re planted in the house we can so honor. But if we’re always uprooting ourselves and going from this church to that church, that church to this church, we will never discover the power of the harvest.
We don’t honor God because of what we’re going to get back. Obviously God would have to go against his nature not to bless us, but we don’t honor God for what we can get; we honor God because of who he is. That’s huge! That’s so, so important!
So when I honor somebody with strings attached, in the marriage or the family situation or the career, those strings will end up choking me. I’ve got to say, “OK, God has called me to honor. I honor God, I’ve got the right order in my life and I’m gonna honor this person because I’m a carrier of charis. I’m a carrier of grace.”
But obviously the benefits are going to be incredible. I just want to say we need to check out our motives. We’ll talk more and more about that but detach yourself. That’s a big thing.
The second D – Develop a new language. Rosetta Stone is cool, but Rosetta Stone ain’t gonna teach you how to speak honor. Honorese, that’s a good language.
“I didn’t grow up that way, man! You understand I didn’t grow up that way, I didn’t hear it!”
I know. I mean I know that. I have talked to a lot of you, as I said earlier, who didn’t grow up that way. But you can learn the language. We can learn some right now. Watch this.
Guys, when your wife walks into a room, try this. Say it with me. “Wow.” OK, 1-2-3… Wow. Just say it from the soul. “Wow!” You’re learning.
Ladies, when you see your man just look at him and say, “You are so awesome.” Ladies, ready, 1-2-3… “You are so awesome.”
When you think it, I’m talking about good stuff, honorable stuff, not dishonorable stuff, no-no-no. Because the longer you’re married, the longer you’re in any relationship, the more we have to tack into the wind, right? When you think of something honorable, say it. Text it. E-mail it. Write it.
Here’s another one we can all work on. “Whoa!” 1-2-3… “Whoa!” I like that. Honorese. You’re learning, that quick!
You allow God to pour into your life, man. You learn his word. It’s all about honor, you’ll begin to speak it. You hang around with people who always speak about honor, who always are taking the high road. I’m not saying they don’t tell the truth, but you know what I’m saying to you, they’re honorable people. It’s attractive, man. It is so, so attractive.
And as I said before I’ve gone through stages in my life where I’ve hung around with too many people who were descending. And now over the last several years it’s been amazing in my life what God has done with this whole thing called honor. Somebody honor somebody.
Here’s the third D – Debut this whole thing with a fast. I like to say, start a fast because you’ll make it last. Twenty-one days of honoring God with your body, because it starts with God.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Honor God with your bodies.” Honor God with your bodies. A fast is biblical. A fast is a time where we do without so we can hear in a bigger way the whispers and the nudging of God. It’s a time where we can pray more and every day we can say, “God, I want to see people through your lens. I want to see people through your eyes. I want to see people through your perspective. I’ve never locked eyes with someone that you have not honored. Help me to be a carrier of this victorious virus.” That’s what can happen.
All you’ve got to do is log onto our website. We have all the essentials, all the details. You can follow Lisa and me on Twitter for the next 21 days. Facebook, we’re giving out recipes and all that. If you’re hearing this on a podcast or watching this on television or whatever, you can do the same thing. And together, as we join forces, we can bring honor back. That’s a 3-D life.
What am I saying? I’m saying this. I’m saying we need to bring honor back. Just little stuff, big stuff.
“Thank you.” Bring it back.
“You look great today.” Bring it back.
“Please.” Bring it back.
“Mom, thanks for an amazing meal.” Bring it back.
“Yes, sir.” Bring it back.
“Yes, ma’am.” Bring it back.
Bring it back. Bring it back. Bring it back.
“God, what do you have for me today?” Bring it back.
“God, who do you want me to honor?” Bring it back.
“God, I want to treat people as uncommon.” Bring it back.
Church, a revolution can take place as we get involved in this honorable D-mention. So let’s bring honor back, OK? You ready to bring it back? I’m ready. I’m ready.
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]