October 12, 2008
Illus: Last Saturday I had the opportunity to go to see the University of Miami play Florida State. It was a very interesting game. We took our entire family to the contest. It was raining. I’m talking cats and dogs. We had to get ponchos, the whole nine yards.
And as our family was walking into this stadium, it was typical. You saw the people tail-gating, drinking adult beverages. And there was a guy about 20 years old who was urinating right where you walked into the stadium. Thankfully, our twins didn’t see that.
We kept walking and they looked at Lisa and I and they were like, “Mom and dad, was it this crazy when you guys went to Florida State?”
We said, “Yes, it was about this crazy.”
So we made our way into the stadium and found our seats on about the ten yard line. We were surrounded by the Miami faithful. Florida State has made this chant very popular, because they’re called the Florida State Seminoles. You have probably seen it before if you’re a sports fan. You might have heard it. It’s called the tomahawk chop. (Singing)
Well, the Miami faithful have their own version of this song. Now everyone, every fan didn’t do this, but a lot of them did. They would flip the bird and they would sing this at the top of their lungs: “F-you Seminoles, Seminoles, we F-you!” But they said the word.
And we got some pictures of people flipping off the Florida State faithful. Do you have that picture? There it is. [A picture is put on the side screens.] That’s not “We’re number 1.” That’s something else.
We heard the F-bomb, I don’t know, five thousand times around us. It’s interesting because back when I went to school if someone saw a bunch of kids they would not use that kind of language. Well today, it’s on another level and people use that sort of language.
And during the game one of our twins turned to us and said, “Mom, dad, why did you bring us here?”
Needless to say, most of the people around us were feeling “free.” There were six seats open right in front of us, so some guys poured into these seats; I should say they staggered into these seats. They all had their University of Miami shirts on and they were acting just crazy. And there was one guy, sort of the alpha male, and he was leading the chants with the language and everything.
So during the game, it went back and forth as these guys were staggering around, standing there, holding one another up. Miami did something great, so everyone began to high five each other. They were turning around high fiving Lisa, high fiving the kids, and then they started high fiving me. Then this big alpha male turned around and high fived me, and when he high fived me he looked like someone had shot him.
He was like, “No way! Dude, I watch your sermons. My girlfriend and I, we think you’re awesome! Can I get my picture taken with you?”
I’m said, “Sure.” So he handed his cell phone to one of the twins and they took a picture. [Another picture is displayed on the side screens.] Thankfully, you can’t see his face. We want to protect his identity.
About a minute later he says, “Where’s my cell phone? I want to text the picture to my girlfriend. I have been drinking so much I don’t know where it is!”
I said, “It’s in your hand.”
It was interesting, though, to watch this guy sober up, because he didn’t really understand the intricacies of the game and he didn’t really understand what was going on. And I watched him sober up rapidly. He traded in his beer for ice cream and using the F-bomb for being a model fan. “Go hurricanes, ra ra ra.” It was something to see him change.
Then while all of this is going on, this sign flashed on the score board, “Please drink responsibly.”
Now, that’s a hilarious sign if you think about it. I always ask myself, how in the world could these people drink responsibly after 8 to 10 beers each? Who knows?
But it is kind of ludicrous when you think about it. There was a game going on, yet a lot of people were so drunk they didn’t even realize what was happening on the field.
T.S. I think that’s a picture of where our culture is today, don’t you? I think there’s a game going on for the heart and soul of our nation, yet so many of us have been drinking deception for so long that we don’t understand the implications and the seriousness of the game. There’s a game going on and it’s time for us to sober up, to step up and to get into the game; to not merely remain as spectators, but to be participators.
I don’t know about you, but I’m politicked. I’m ticked at what’s happening on the field. I’m ticked as I look at the scoreboard. And as a responsible citizen, as someone who should be under God; we’re one nation under God, not alongside God or above God. We’re one nation under God. But as people who love God and who want the best, we should be ticked.
So today, as I kick this series off called Politicked, I want to do a quick overview of what’s going on, on the field. I want to do a quick overview of the battle that’s going on between different forces. Because the battle we’re facing is not against flesh and blood; it’s against principalities and forces out there. So many of us, though, are so drunk we don’t know what’s happening.
What’s going on? Well there’s a battle going on. And one of the struggles is truth versus relativism. Say it with me, truth versus relativism.
Jesus said (John 8:32), “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
So many people, though, are relativists these days. And relativism sounds so sexy, so cool and so hip. So many celebrities and pundits and glassy eyed gurus and politicos are into relativism.
What does it mean to be a relativist? To be a relativist simply says, what is true is true for you. That might be right for you; but what’s right for you might be different than what’s right for you, but it’s right for you. The truth is relative.
In other words, let’s say there’s a University of Relativism. And let’s say Dr. Fuzzy Face walked in front of the classroom and we were all in this class at the University of Relativism. And let’s say Dr. Fuzzy Face handed out a multiple choice test. It had four possible answers, A, B, C or D. And what if this professor said, “You choose the answer that is right for you. It could be A; it could be B; it could be C; it could be D. But whatever is right for you, you choose that one. And that’ll be the right answer.”
That’s relativism. Because a lot of us would say, “Wait a minute. That doesn’t make sense. That’s a standard-less test. There is no truth there.”
Well the Bible talks about truth. God is truth. There are spiritual laws and for example, there are physical laws. There is the law of gravity. You might not feel like agreeing with the law of gravity. You might say, “The law of gravity is true for you but it’s not true for me.”
But I have news for you; what goes up must go down.
There are spiritual laws, as well. For example, God made man and woman to be together as husband and wife. God did not create Adam to be with Steve, but to be with Eve.
We at Fellowship Church, we at this church, love homosexuals. Don’t misread me. We love homosexuals. We accept homosexuals. We do not, though, approve of their behavior. Because God has said from cover to cover, marriage is for one man and one woman in this covenant, in this commitment.
And I cannot believe it; our nation is trying to redefine marriage. And it’s nuts. I’m all for everyone having equal rights, but when it comes to this institution called marriage, give me a massive break. Call me a taxi.
Illus: “My appendix hurts. I need my appendix taken out.”
Well guess what? the University of Relativism has a hospital. How would you like for a bunch of relativists to operate on you? A relativist would say, “You know what, who cares about your appendix? I don’t like your nose. I’m going to chop your nose off. Who cares about your right leg? I feel your right leg needs to be amputated.”
If you take absolute truths and remove it from a culture, study it in history, you have a culture that majors on particulars. And when you have a culture that majors on particulars, which is another way to say relativism, the result is chaos.
Look at our public schools, chaos. Look at our economy, chaos. Look at so much of corporate America, chaos. Look at our nation, chaos. Why? Relativism.
And the well meaning celebrities and the cultural elite—(people like) Oprah and Sean Penn and Matt Damon and Julia Roberts—they try to be so cool and so nice. And I’m sure they’re well intentioned, but they’re wrong. They’re absolutely, categorically, 100 percent wrong.
Now here are some chilling words in the Book of Judges. Judges 21:25 (NAS). “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
Relativism. What’s right for you; what’s true for you.
Illus: I was on the beach several years ago. And as I was walking down this beautiful beach on the gulf coast of Florida I saw a fence on the beach. I thought, “That is kind of odd; a fence on the beach.” And as I looked closer I saw some signs near the fence. And the signs read, “Sea turtle eggs.”
And then it told me if I stepped on the sand above the sea turtle eggs I would get thrown in prison and pay this astronomical fine.
I thought, wow, we’re really into protecting developing baby sea turtles. So our government is into that, but it is okay to take the lives of developing babies? It is okay to take the lives of 3,288 developing babies every 24 hours?!
What’s right is now wrong. What’s wrong is now right. Truth versus relativism. It is time for us to embrace the truth and receive the truth and to be the truth. Because when I look inside of myself, which so many new age philosophies tell me to do, books like The Secret and The Gospel According to Oprah, just to name a few. When I look inside of myself, I see someone who is fallen and fallible. I see someone who is sin stained. And when I do what I want to do I mess up.
But as I realize that truth is outside of me; as I realize I have an opportunity to receive the Lord; as he invades my life, then I have a truth source. I have an anchor. I operate from truth.
And it scares me to death to see this battle going on. Truth versus relativism. Relativism versus truth. Yet, so many of us have drunk so much deception that we don’t even realize there’s a battle going on.
But there’s another one, effectiveness versus bureaucracy. Say it with me, effectiveness versus bureaucracy.
My father has been in the ministry for years and years and he has had the opportunity to know a lot of different presidents and congressmen. And he told me just the other day that a US congressman told him last week that there are more employees in Washington Department of Agriculture then there are farmers in our nation!
On a good weekend at Fellowship Church we will have 20 to 25,000 people showing up. We have a small staff for a church our size. We have maybe 200 employees. If we ran our church like the government did, we would have 25,000 employees and about 200 people showing up at church.
Name me one thing the government has their hands on that’s run efficiently and effectively? You can’t do it. You can’t do it. But we’re bloated with bureaucrats.
The Bible, if you want to know this, some of you who are into numbers, has 774,000 words in it, give or take. The U.S. tax code and book of regulations has 7 million + words!
We have created this monster, haven’t we? What is the government’s job? It is to protect. But now we have turned the government into Fedzilla. Fedzilla doesn’t protect us anymore. Fedzilla now is preying on us, that’s P-R-E-Y.
There is an assault on achievement, a heightened sense of hypocrisy out there. Fedzilla. If you succeed; if you do something well, Fedzilla takes the profits and then gives the profits to this big monster and then hands out the profits to people. Many of them who are able-bodied Americans, many of them who can work, who should hold a job, but who don’t want to. They want to sit around, smoke weed, drink six-packs and play with their iPhones.
We need to help the poor. We need to help those who are less fortunate. The Church needs to step up and do this. We need to help those who are physically challenged, who are mentally challenged, who can’t work. I’m all for that. But if you can work and you’re not working, you’re living off of Fedzilla.
Our government, friends, has become the powerful permissive parent. You know what a permissive parent is, don’t you? It’s like, “You can’t fail. You can’t fumble the ball. We’ll help you. We’ll pick you up. It’s bad for you to experience anything bad.”
The government, the government, the government. The government knows more than I do about my life? The government knows more about my marriage and my family than I do? And here we have the congress worrying about steroid usage in baseball when you have terrorists crossing the border who want to blow us off the face of the map and we’re drowning in sea of debt?
This 700 billion dollar bail out. I’m no economist, but isn’t that like giving booze to a recovering alcoholic? Our economy, wow, it is kind of crazy, isn’t it? Everybody is talking about the economy. No one can understand it. What is going on out there? This and that and retirement nest eggs are cracked and scrambled and poached, but they’re anything but sunny side up. Our portfolios are puttering along, but (we think) the government will rescue us. It is all about the government.
That brings me to another battle on this field. Again, most of us are drinking deception to such degree that we don’t even realize it. This is the battle of responsibility versus victimization. Say it with me, responsibility versus victimization.
We love to play the victim. I’m great at playing the victim, aren’t you? “It’s their fault. It’s my kids’ fault. It’s my wife’s fault. It is the government’s fault. It is not me.”
The victim card. We’re amazing enablers. We’re amazing entitlement people. “I’m entitled. I deserve this. I deserve that. No, I don’t work. I don’t step up and take responsibility. I don’t hold a job, but I’m entitled to that.”
That swims against the currents of Scripture! Because I become a believer when I take responsibility for my life. That’s how I become a follower of Christ. I take responsibility of the fact that I’m a sinner and sin has separated me from God. I take responsibility for that. I own that fact. I confess that. I turn from that and turn to Jesus Christ.
It is time for us to take responsibility for ourselves. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned more when I failed than when I’ve succeeded. Looking back if the rear view mirror of my life, I thank the Lord for all of the failures in my life. And I thank the Lord for parents who were tough enough to allow me to fall flat on my face. I’m glad my parents did not rescue me every time little Eddie tripped or got hurt or made some stupid decision.
“Oh, you’re okay. I’ll rescue you.”
Helicopter parents. Well now the government is like the helicopter government. But it’s good to fail. We learn from failure. We learn from messing up. But the victim card, we love it.
Here is what Scripture says and these are some pretty great verses here. James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should…” what? “…ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
So we need to ask God for advice. We need to ask God for life. We need to ask God for common sense. Because common sense really is kind of a stupid phrase, do you know what I’m saying to you? Common sense is not common. Common sense is uncommon. It should be called uncommon sense, because common sense is uncommon.
And we have the opportunity to have uncommon sense when we get under God. We’re one nation under God. “God, you’re God, I’m not. You’re the creator, I am the creature.”
Unbelievable when you think about it. I read the other day, 31 percent of Medicare is fraud. Now, what if 31 percent of your business or mine was fraud? [Ed starts singing] Bad boy, bad boy, what you going to do?
Everywhere we turn. So it’s time, again, for us to wake up. There’s a game going on. Look at the scoreboard. Sober up and step up and get in the game.
There’s another battle going on and I have to talk about this one, too. It’s wisdom versus intelligence. Say it with me, wisdom versus intelligence.
There are more educated idiots in the world today than I have ever seen in my life. Now intelligence, or I.Q., does not equal wisdom. It really, really doesn’t. Because we know so many people, for example Dr. Fuzzy Face from the University of Relativism. He’s a brilliant guy, but he doesn’t have a lot of wisdom because the Bible says, I just read it to you, Jesus’ half brother said in James 1:5, “Wisdom begins with God.” If we lack it, you better ask God. Do you want to be wise? I didn’t say intelligent. Do you want to be wise? Ask God. Bow the knee to God and God will give you wisdom.
Now Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (or wisdom), but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
Wow, fools. Have you noticed this slide, for example, into socialism that’s happening in our world today?
Illus: I remember back at Florida State University I majored in the fine arts. And I walked into one of my art classes and I saw this girl, blonde hair, black T-shirt. On the front of the T-shirt was a picture of Karl Marx. And below it said, “Sure, I’m Marxist.”
And I laughed back then. I was like ha. Because you know art students, we’re all kind of coo-coo. But now today, I cry, because not everybody in the media, but so many people in the media, the cultural élites, they applaud, for example, Cuba.
Cuba is a wreck. Talk to anybody; talk to a Cuban American who was there when a young man smoking a cigar took over. Socialism has wrecked and ruined that beautiful land. Socialism is non-biblical and it scares me to death as I see this slide toward socialism.
Wow. Wisdom versus intelligence. And people who are wise; what does it mean to be wise? To see life through the lenses of the Lord. To see life from his perspective.
When we have God’s wisdom, we can make those great decisions as we negotiate the maze of life. That’s why we need to elect people who have that wisdom. That’s why people here need to get involved in the political process. That’s why I’m excited about the young leaders we’re raising up who will take charge and, I believe, change what’s happening and return this nation to one nation under God. Not one nation alongside God; not one nation where we’re above God, but one nation under God. So we have an opportunity, don’t we, to do this? There’s a game going on and we have to get in the game.
Now next week, you want to be here. I’m going to tell you who to vote for.
You see, here’s what a lot of you don’t understand: The church has become more and more of a non-prophet entity. But I’m excited. A lot of churches are becoming for-prophet, the prophets of God, men and women of God, are standing up and saying, “Thus sayeth the Lord.”
And we’re not going to be shy about talking about it. We love everybody. We accept everybody. We don’t, though, approve of everyone’s behavior.
Illus: It is like the porn star that came to Fellowship Church a couple of weeks ago. I looked at her and said, “You know what, we love you. God loves you. You matter to him. We accept you; however, we don’t approve of your behavior.”
So it’s time that we step up and stand up and say, “You know what? I’m going to draw the line in the sand. I’m not going to move the line. There are going to be consequences, but we’re going to stand for God’s truth and be the church.”
Because what a time in history that we have right now to be the church. People are asking those deep questions in life. Think about what’s happening on our horizon. The hurricanes and the tornados and the floods and these disasters and security breaches. And I really feel like, friends, we are close to the end. No one knows when the end will be, but I really feel like it because the signs are there. And it’s time for us to wake up, to sober up and trade in our beer for ice cream and trade in, the F-bomb for words of faith and to take responsibility and to drink in the truth and to allow it to set us free.
So the time is now. Are you ready to get in the game? Are you ready to get in the game? I’m ready and I know you are, as well.
[Ed ends in closing prayer.]