Questions: Part 2: Transcript & Outline



Part 2

Ed Young

September 25-26, 2004

You ever have embarrassing things happen to you?  I’ve just written a new book called “Kid CEO,” and Warner-Faith is publishing it.  I didn’t really know this, but when you publish a book, especially with a big dog like Warner, they set you up in all these interviews to talk about the book.  So I’ve done a lot of interviews on different radio stations.  And recently, I did an interview on a television show, and this television show was supposed to be shown around the world.



Part 2

Ed Young

September 25-26, 2004

You ever have embarrassing things happen to you?  I’ve just written a new book called “Kid CEO,” and Warner-Faith is publishing it.  I didn’t really know this, but when you publish a book, especially with a big dog like Warner, they set you up in all these interviews to talk about the book.  So I’ve done a lot of interviews on different radio stations.  And recently, I did an interview on a television show, and this television show was supposed to be shown around the world.

So I showed up to this place, and I was supposed to be interviewed about the book.  So I’m just like, you know, standing there waiting to walk on stage.  There were like five cameras on the stage and all the lights and stuff.  And I was, you know, pretty relaxed, maybe a little bit of butterflies.  But you know, after all, it’s a book I’ve written.  I could answer questions about it.

So I walked on stage and the host welcomes me and he asked me one question about the book, and I talked for maybe about a minute.  Then he shook my hand, walked off stage, and left me there!  And I did this spin move and I stared at the camera.  And I look and the producer of the show is holding up a sign behind the camera that says “20 Minutes”!  I had no notes, no Bible, no thoughts, no talk, no sermon.  I totally blanked out.  I started stumbling and fumbling.  It was wheels off!  I looked like a card-carrying idiot.  Whack-a-doodle-do.  Just like this.  [Ed mimics a stunned, crazy look]  I had an out of body experience.  I get nervous just telling you the story.

The biggest fear we have is the fear of death.  The second biggest fear is speaking before people, especially when you’re not prepared.  And when I walked off stage weak-kneed, I said to myself, “Ed, you didn’t do what you’ve been talking about.  You did not ask the right people the right questions to get the right answers.”  And when we don’t do that, we’re going to live a wheels-off life.  If we don’t do that, we’re going to be standing there in a marriage, in a family, in a work environment, on our team, or at school not knowing what to say, kind of looking like a deer in the headlights.  You know?

Last weekend I kicked off this series called “Questions.”  We learned that there are 2,530 different questions in the Bible.  God is a God who asks questions.  Not that God is in the dark.  Not that God doesn’t know the answer.  He’s sovereign.  He knows everything.  But He does ask questions.  And men and women throughout the Bible ask God questions.  God said, “Adam and Eve, where are you?”  He knew where they were.  He said Moses, “Who made your mouth?”  He said, “Jeremiah, what do you see?”  “Isaiah, whom shall I send?”  God said, “Jonah, aren’t you concerned about the great city of Nineveh?”  Then Jesus said, “Who do you say that I am?”  Questions and questions and questions.

Every time we ask a question, we’re mimicking the majesty of our maker.  Every time I ask the question, I’m reflecting one of the core values of our great and Holy God.  I’ve got to ask the right people the right questions to get the right answers.

Last time we found out that information without interrogation is an abomination.  We discovered that we are tasked with the ask.  We’re to ask.  And every time we ask a question, we’re Always Seeking Knowledge [ASK].  Then I shared with you, during a moment of vulnerability, why I am sometimes hesitant to ask questions.  In my hesitancy, in the same hesitancy that you have, there are big, honkin’ barriers.  A lot of us don’t ask questions because we say to ourselves, “You know, if I ask this question, I will show my weakness.  If I ask this question, I will have to get to the answer, and I’m fearful of the answer.”  So weakness and fear keep us tethered to silence.

Then we looked at who the right people were.  We said we have got to ask the right questions to the right people to get the right answers.  “Who are the right people,” we said?  Who are those right people?  God—you ask questions to God.  “God what do you think about it?  God does it reflect your content, your character, your call on my life?”  Then we said we’ve got to ask others questions.  Not sinful sympathizers, but spiritual empathizers.  We’ve got to ask people who are doing the right stuff the right questions.  We’ve got to ask others.  Then, we said, we’ve got to ask ourselves questions.  You’ve got to question yourself.  Every time you’re thinking about an answer you’ve got to say, “Okay, against the backdrop of my past, thinking about my present day situation, and also looking into the future, what is the best answer?  What is it?”  And we question ourselves last.  First, we question God and others.

Well, today the plot clots, as I like to say.  Today we’re going to really rumble with this stuff, because the right people—we’ve got that part down.  But we’ve got to ask the right people the right questions. 


“Ed,” you might be saying, “what are the right questions?  What are the right questions?”  Well, I want to share the right questions with you.  Because the right questions are found on your message map [handout] and they come from four areas.  Our questions to God, to others, and to ourselves should come from four areas of life.  And I want you to jot these down.


The first area or the first zone of question is the confirmation zone.  And here’s how we phrase our question.  We ask someone who is doing something right a question.  We say, “What does this confirm in my life?  I’m having a leading.  I’m planning this.  I’m thinking about this.  My tendency is to go this way.  Does what you’re doing or what you’re saying or what you’re planning confirm something in my life?”  We ask this to people who’ve got it going on, to people who are walking the walk and talking the talk.

I think about the early years of Fellowship Church.  Fellowship began 14 years ago.  We started this thing in rented facilities.  We rented an office complex.  We rented a fine arts theatre in Irving.  We rented a high school.  Every single weekend, we would build the church and tear it down.  Build up and tear it down.  At the end, before we moved in here, we had these semi-trucks with people loading and packing, loading and packing, unloading and setting up, unloading and setting up.  Then packing….  This happened for eight years.  We were the church on the move.

Well, after Fellowship Church had been going for 2-3 years, we got some people together in our church who were into real estate and we said, “Let’s look for some land.  Let’s look for some land,” we said, “in Irving, Texas.  Because after all, we were an Irving church, so let’s buy land in Irving, Texas.”  So, all these real estate men and women, they went out and they found different tracts of land in Irving—30-40 acres of land.  I thought that was a lot of land.

The more, though, God blessed our church, we began to say, “Maybe we need some more land.”  So, I jumped on a plane, flew up to Chicago, met with a friend who is a mentor of mine and had lunch with him.  We began to talk about Fellowship Church and he said, “Ed, tell me about your search for land.”  And I told him, I said, “We’re looking for 30-40 acres.  You know?  He said, “That’s too small.  That’s not enough land.”  I said, “Really?”  He said, “A church like Fellowship, the way God’s blessing it, you need to look for a minimum 100 acres.”  I thought to myself, “What does this guy want us to do?  Build a golf course?  100 acres?!”

Then I’m thinking, “Man, we can barely pay the rent at MacArthur High School and this art center and this office complex.  And now you’re telling me that as the leader I should go back to our team and say, ‘Yes, let’s find 100 acres of land in Dallas/Fort Worth’?”  Whoa!

God used this guy.  Because he confirmed a leading we were having.  Maybe we needed to look outside of Irving.  Maybe there is some more land.  The Resolution Trust Corporation was dumping land.  There was a 159-acre tract of land and we scraped up enough money to put a down payment on this acreage.  At the time, this was just in the sticks.  Grapevine Mills wasn’t here.  Outdoor World wasn’t here.  All the hotels and restaurants weren’t here.  People were like, “Grapevine?  Why are we thinking about going all the way to Grapevine?  Wow!  I mean what’s in Grapevine?  Grapevine!?  That’s way out there, man.  What have you been smoking?  I mean that’s crazy!”

We owed $1.875 million on this property when we tied it up.  Without a sign on the property, a year later we sold 22 acres for $1.875 million.  Now don’t sit there and tell me that God isn’t in the land business!  Don’t even try to tell me that.  But, the whole thing happened because of questions.  What does this confirm?  We asked the right person the right question and he gave us the right answer.


Here’s the next question.  The copy question.  “What should I copy?  What should I copy?”  We need to copy stuff from people’s lives, especially the people who are walking the walk and talking the talk.  I should copy stuff.

When we first started Fellowship Church, I met someone you might have heard about, Rick Warren.  He’s written an incredible book called “The Purpose-Driven Life.”  I read in the New York Times where it sold like 20 million copies.  Rick has been very, very kind to me, and very kind to Fellowship Church.  And early on, I listened to some tapes from Rick and these tapes talked about the focus of the church.  I said to myself, “Man, this is brilliant.  It’s simple, but not simplistic.”

So I began to think about two chapters in the Bible.  Specifically Matthew 22 and Matthew 28.  In Matthew 22:37 you find the great commandment.  What is the great commandment?  Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  And then he said [Verse 39], “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Vertically, we’re with God.  Horizontally, with our neighbor.  Then Matthew 28:19-20 says “Go,” not “Yo.”  “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” 

So, I began to talk to Rick and look at his church that was only a couple of years old and I thought, “I need to copy some stuff from him.”  I thought, “Loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind.  What is that?  That’s worship.  That’s reaching ‘up.’  Okay, the church is also to be about sharing.  Sharing Christ with others.  That’s evangelism, that’s reaching ‘out.’  And then, okay, discipleship; becoming a full follower of Christ.  That’s reaching ‘in.’  That’s it!  Reaching up, reaching out, reaching in.  That’s our mission statement.  That’s putting the ball through the net.  That’s scoring the touchdown.  That’s taking the hill.”  Fellowship Church, reaching up—that’s worship, reaching out—that’s evangelism, and reaching in—that’s discipleship.  That is the three-fold ministry and the vision of the church.

I copied that.  Not the “Up, Out, In” thing, but I copied that mentality, that vision from Rick.  What should you copy from someone’s life?  I don’t know.  I’m just throwing the question out.


The cancel question.  That’s another question.  Don’t tell me what you’re doing, tell me what you’re not doing.  When I ask questions, when you ask questions, we should be thinking, “What should I stop in my life?”

Remember, my favorite subject to talk about is me.  And your favorite subject to talk about is you.  (Don’t act like it’s not, because, you know, we’re being honest here.  This is church.)  So you know stuff that I’ll never know.  Isn’t that cool?  You know information I’ll never know.

Look at your neighbor.  Your neighbor knows information you’ll never know.  I know stuff you’ll never know, unless we ask questions.   See, I have the opportunity to ask you questions, to learn from you.  And you have the opportunity to ask others questions and you can learn.  So we should question.  A conversational cadence should be consistent, should be flowing, “Q & A” always.  “What should I cancel?”

Let’s go back again to the early days of Fellowship Church.  This message is kind of like isn’t it?  That’s good!  You can use that—  That’s funny.  Okay, anyway.  Our church began to grow.  We were doing all these services and we were meeting in a fine arts complex.  Across the street we had this old dilapidated theatre that we rented.  This thing—I mean, rat infested, it smelled of stale popcorn and soft drinks—it was horrible.  Some of you remember the Fellowship theatre.  It was terrible.

Anyway, we thought, “Hey, we’ll do simultaneous services.”  Oh, whoa.  So, in one venue we’d do the music portion first, and I’d be speaking first in the other venue.  And then we had it timed.  We had people on the front row giving us signs like “10 Minutes To Go,” you know?  “8 Minutes To Go.”  “Stop the sermon now, Ed!”  And then I would stop and the musicians would stop, and we would change venues.  Like ships passing in the night.  It was terrible!

That lasted for four weeks.  We canceled it.  It didn’t work.  And that’s the great thing about Fellowship Church.  Man, we will try stuff—sometimes it doesn’t work.  Dismount a dead horse.  “What should I cancel?”  You’d better ask that question a lot.  So should I.  Don’t tell me what you’re doing.  Don’t tell me what you’re starting.  Tell me what you’re not doing.  Tell me what you’re stopping.


Here’s another question, the fourth one.  Create.  “What should I create?  What angle, what idea, what vibe can I get from the right situation, from the right interchange, from the right person?  What idea can I put through my creative colander (if you’re a cook) or seine (if you’re a fisherman)? What can I put through it to apply to my life?  What?”

Remember the series we did a couple of months ago called “Forgiveness – the Real ‘F’ Word”?  Remember that?  “Ooh, the real ‘F’ word.  I can’t believe he’s using that as a title!  Oh, woooo.”  Do you know we emailed over 100 pastors to ask their opinion on that title?  And 90% said, “Go for it!  It’s a great title.”  I asked a lot of people and most said, “Go for it.”

I just felt the leading that I should talk about forgiveness.  I’ve talked a lot about forgiveness and I looked at a lot of my research I’d done in the past and looked at some old messages I’d done on forgiveness and read some stuff on forgiveness and I was just thinking about forgiveness.  Forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness.  And I began to say, “Okay.  What can I create, what angle, what idea is God going to give me about this series of talks?”

I knew I needed some kind of hook, something to tie everything together.  I was putting gas in my car—you know the story, if you were here—and I looked and saw a jogger.  I looked at the jogger because I love dogs and he had a big Doberman on the end of the leash.  He jogged past the busy intersection in front of me into the convenience store behind me.  He tied the Doberman to a park bench and he went inside to get something to drink.  Well, the Doberman got startled; he ran toward the busy freeway, jerked the park bench out from its supports, and drug it behind him.  Sparks were flying into the busy intersection.  And I said to myself, “Oh, no, we’re gonna have a major, major catastrophe here.”  The dog stopped short of two cars.  There was so much centrifugal force on the park bench, he slammed the park bench into an SUV and a Volkswagen, messing both cars up.  I was like this [Ed mimics his facial expression at the time].  It was incredible!  I still can’t believe it happened.

I knew when that happened, I knew I was supposed to tell that story.  And I remember getting into my car and going, “Okay, okay.  That is something I’ve got to share.  There’s got to be an angle.”  I just knew it.  “There’s got to be!” And it hit me.  Whoa!  I’m like that Doberman.  And so are you.  Because far too long, I’ve been leashed up to unforgiveness.  I’ve had people sitting on my bench and I’ve been dragging them around and causing all this collateral damage because of unforgiveness.  Maybe an ex-spouse is sitting on your bench.  Maybe it’s a coach.  Maybe it’s a teacher.  Maybe it’s a manager.  Maybe it’s a child.  Who is sitting on your bench?

And then, as I began to study it and pray about it, God just gave me this: “Unleashing unforgiveness is unnatural.  Unleashing unforgiveness is unending.  Unleashing unforgiveness is unbelievable.”  Totally a God idea.  And I had the idea from God because I asked this question, “What can I create?  What can I create?”

Do you realize you’re a creative genius?  Now, you might not have ever thought about that because our culture beats the creativity out of us.  But I’m telling you, you are, because we’re made in the image of our creative God.


When you ask questions like these four questions, here’s what’s going to happen.  It’ll throw your life, your world into a cycle of success.  Most people are afraid of this cycle.  But this cycle is true.  I believe in every cycle of life.


The first part of the cycle is the change cycle.  “Change?”  We don’t like change!  “Ahhh!  Change?  I’m going to change something?”  Human beings are very predictable, aren’t we?  “Change, wow!”

And then from change we move into conflict.  “Ohh!”  Most of us resist change because of conflict.  We resist it because of resistance.  If the change is good, if you’re asking the right people the right questions, then the conflict will be good and you’ll grow.  You’ve got change, conflict, growth.  Change, conflict, growth.  Change, conflict, growth.  Change, conflict, growth.  “Well, Ed, what are you talking about?  I mean, explain it where I can understand it.”

How many of you are married here?  Lift your hands if you’re married.  Now, you know I talk a lot about the importance of a date night, of you dating your spouse.  If you’re single—hey, singles, 90% of you will get married one day, and that’s good news—you better listen very, very carefully to what I’m telling you.  Because someone challenged me years ago to start a date night.

So I said this: confirm.  “What can I confirm?  What does this date night thing confirm?”  And I talked to people who were doing a date night, and by looking at their marriage and their life I said, “Whoa!  It confirms I need a date night.  As a spiritual leader, as the husband, I need a date night.  Okay.  I’ve got that confirmed.

Copy.  I’ll just copy it from this couple.  They’re doing it.  I’m going to do a date night like they’re doing it.

Cancel.  I’m going to have to cancel some stuff in my schedule to do a date night, some good stuff.  Opportunities to travel and to speak.  I’ve got to cancel it, because Thursday night is our night.

Create.  “Oh, I’m going to be creative, man!  I’m going to do it better than this couple.”  Because usually when you copy someone and create, you do it better.  Because you raise the bar.

When I made this decision out of these questions, what happened? Change.  Our marriage began to change.  Our family began to change.  Talk to Lisa, “What’s the best thing you’ve done for your marriage over the last 10, 12, 15 years?”  She’ll say, no doubt, two words—date night.  Date night.  Guys, what you used to get her is what you use to keep her.

Conflict.  We would leave on Thursday nights and the kids [Ed imitates the reactions of his kids], “Oh, don’t leave, don’t!”  Now parents, would you rather your kids cry or you cry when you’ve got some serious marital problems?  And now our kids are like, “Yeah!  Go ahead and stay out!  Just leave for a couple of days, man!”

Growth.  Growth has taken place in our marriage in a phenomenal way.  Use this in your corporation, in your business, use this grid in you family with your team.  Use it.  Its how we’ve made decisions and choices and answers here at Fellowship Church.  Ask the right people—God, others, and ourselves—the right questions and you’ll get the right answers.  But don’t be afraid of the cycle of success.  What is success?  Success is discovering what God has for you.  It’s walking in the will of God.  That’s what success is.

Fellowship Church, for the last 1½ – 2 years, we’ve been thinking about and praying through a great, great answer.  We’ve been asking a lot of questions about one thing I want to share with you right now.  This is so cool.  We began thinking, “What’s next for Fellowship Church?”  What do we do?  Because our goal is to reach up, out, and in.  How do we do that?  Do we just stay here like it is?  Doing the same stuff?  I mean, that would be fine and dandy.  Or, do we leverage a lot of stuff, do we ask some hard questions and get some answers and begin to dream a little bit?

So, some of my friends around the country began to do some stuff.  They began to start satellite campuses.  And they call these campuses “video venues.”  They said, “You know, we have these video campuses.”  And I said, “Are you talking about everything is on video?”  And they said, “No, no, no, Ed.  They’re self-supporting churches with their own staff.  Every thing is live—live children’s church, live preschool, live student activities, live HomeTeams, live music.  But,” they said, “the speaking portion is videoed into these particular areas, these particular venues.”

I said, “That won’t work.  That’s not going to work.  I like it live, man.  It’s got to be live.  Video?  Come on man.  It’s gotta be real, you know?  Keep it real.”  That’s what I said.  Then I began to ask myself these questions.  I flew down South and talked to a friend of mine, went to his main campus, saw him speak live.  Then I went to his video venue.  And after going to the video venue, I said, “I like your video venue better than your main campus!”  Wooo!

What does it confirm?  It works.  And here’s how God confirmed it in my life.  You know, when I speak I try to make good eye contact with people.  You know?  But here’s something that really kind of messed me up.  I’ll show you what I’m talking about.  It’s been messing with me for a long, long time.  And I’ll just tell you about it right now.

[Ed gets down from the stage and walks about 5 rows up the aisle to where a teenage boy is sitting.]

What’s your name, big man?  “Blake.”  What’s up, Blake?  Can I have your seat for just a second, Blake?  You just stand right up here.  All right, Blake.  Now, Blake, pretty much, okay, one, two, three, four…pretty much from the fourth row up [towards the stage] people are looking at me.  But, Blake, from your row back?  Man, let me show you what people do, Blake.  You won’t believe this.  I’m talking and I’m trying to make eye contact and people are doing like this.  [Ed stares up at the side screens with his mouth dropped open as if he were bored]  And sometimes, Blake, they’re doing like this.  [Ed pretends to be sleeping]

I said to myself, “Man, I am really boring!  So I’m going to start pacing back and forth to try to catch their eye.”  So I’m over here; I’m over there.  And they figured it out.  Then I figured it out, Blake.  They’re looking at the video [side] screens!  You know what I’m saying?  All right man, thanks.

[Ed returns to the stage]

They’re looking at the video screens.  So, we have all this amazing technology so I began to confirm that in my life.  Well, let’s leverage the technology and let’s maybe rent and lease some venues over the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  We can utilize some amazing leadership we have in these certain areas.  And these leaders can invite their friends to attend Fellowship Church who would normally not drive an hour to church, although we do have a number of people who do drive an hour.  And then we can reach up better and out better and in better.  I said it wouldn’t work.  But after my trip, and after studying the churches in South Carolina; Tulsa, Oklahoma; San Diego, California; Atlanta, Georgia.  Wow!

What can I copy?  Well, we’ve asked that question a lot.  We can copy.  A lot of stuff these churches are doing we’re going to just copy it.  They’re doing some great stuff.  We’re going to copy it.  They copy stuff from us, and we copy from them.

Cancel.  What can we cancel at Fellowship Church?  Well, since we’re adding all these services at these other sites, we can move down to four services.  We could add some seats here maybe.  Like maybe take the wall back in these areas.  That’s cool.  Cancel some stuff.

Create.  Oh, man!  We’ll be able to do it better than these other churches.  You know why?  Because whenever you copy somebody, you should do it better.  I hope you do.  I hope we do.  What can we do better?  See, I like to be the fourth or fifth one trying it.  [That way I can see it and say], “Aw, man, that was a stupid mistake you made there.  Yeah, we would never do that.”  No, [I’m kidding]!

But see, these people told me, “Ed, don’t do this.  And you’ve got to think about this.  And don’t do that.”  So we’ve learned.  Two years we’ve been asking ourselves these questions.  Now what’s happened?  Change?  Oh, yeah.  Change.  Change.

Conflict?  Tension?  “What will Fellowship look like?  Is it turning into a total video thing?  How about Rob and Vanessa and people like Yancy and Eric Orson and Michael Higdon?  Will I still see the band?”  Yes!  They’re going to rotate around in different spots, and we’re going to have our own staff in these certain locations.  And it’s going to be a great thing.  I will even show up some and speak at these different locations.  And we have this phenomenal high definition screen here that’ll be out there in these venues.  So it’s like these speakers are going to be eight or nine feet tall.  It’s going to be like Goliath!  You know?

Growth will take place.  Because after all, that’s the goal—growth.  It’s to reach as many people as we can.  God has gifted us in so many ways here at Fellowship Church.  I look at so many people, you’re so gifted, you’re so talented, and it’s time for many of us to step up and serve and do stuff that we’ve kind of been waiting to do for a long, long time.  But we’re going to need your help.

Where are they [the satellite locations]?  Well, one of the ones that we are working on right now—and it will be complete in January—is a 110,000 square foot building in Plano off of 75 and Legacy.  And here’s what is crazy.  We looked at our database and we discovered 25,000 specific names that had visited Fellowship Church over the last four years from the Plano area.  25,000!  I can’t even get my mind around that.  Whoa!  Might be a good place to look for a building.  What do you think?

And now people know that we’re retro-fitting this building—we have a sign out there—people are coming to us, “Man, I’m there!  I’ve heard about Fellowship Church.  I’ve been one time and it’s too far to drive, but now I’m there!  I’m going to be involved.  Count me in, man.  I’ll be there parking and greeting and serving in children’s church and all this stuff.”  So it is going to be an amazing thing.

We’re also looking at a spot right now—I can’t tell you where it is—in downtown Dallas.  We have a hunk of humanity that comes to Fellowship Church from downtown, and this one’s gonna be, I mean, really, really, really cool.  I mean, can you imagine people like Derric Bonnot and Shoreline and Eric Orson doing worship in downtown Dallas?  And that kind of edginess.  I’m telling you.  It’s gonna be off the hook!

We’re also looking at some land in the Alliance [airport] corridor.  And also, we’ve talked to some people in South Florida and maybe even sin city, Las Vegas!  So, we already have some leadership teams working.  This is going to be a very cool deal.  So, yeah, I believe it will improve Fellowship Church in every way.

Again, we use the confirmation thing, the copy thing, the cancel thing, the create thing, and the change, conflict, growth in all of this.  So that’s the right questions that we’re working through right now.  Do I know all the answers?  No way.  Do we know all the answers?  No way.  We’ve never known all the answers.  We didn’t know all the answers when we started Fellowship Church.  We didn’t know all the answers when we bought this land.  We didn’t know all the answers when we built this building.  We don’t know all the answers now.

We knew a lot of them, but not all of them.  And that’s the fun part.  That’s the faith part, isn’t it?  That’s the uncertainty of leadership.  Because we’ve got to totally trust and lean on God during this.  It’s going to be great.


Ask the right people—God, others, ourselves—the right questions and then we’ll get—I love this part.  Oh, this is good—the right answers.  “What are the right answers, Ed?  What do they look like?”  Let’s change gears for a second and talk about the answers.  The answers.

We have three sets of possible answers.  Just jot these down if you will— actions or feelings, service or self, giving or getting.  All the answers in life pretty much fit in those categories.


Let’s talk about the first one: actions or feelings.  This word “commitment,” that’s a big-time word—commitment.  Commitment is about what?  It’s actions driven.  It’s not feelings driven.  It’s actions driven.  Commitment.

Think about the big five.  Your relationship with Jesus Christ, your relationship (if you’re married) to your spouse, your relationship with your kids, your connectivity in vision in the marketplace, then let’s say, living a healthy life style.  Those are the big five.  All right.  Those are about commitment.  Those aren’t about feelings.

Feelings?  Many times I don’t feel like praying.  I don’t feel like reading the Bible.  I don’t feel like loving Lisa like Christ loved the church.  I don’t feel like it.  I don’t feel like spending quantity and quality time with my kids.  I just don’t feel like it.  I don’t feel like coming to work a lot of the times.  I feel like fishing.  I don’t feel like working.  I don’t feel like drinking carrot juice and eating bean curd.  I don’t.  I don’t feel like pumping iron and running.  I don’t feel like it.  Like yesterday, I ran four miles.  I didn’t feel like it.  Actions overtake feelings.  That’s commitment.  We don’t feel our way into an action.  We act our way into a feeling.

Years ago, before I started Fellowship Church with a group of 150 people, I did a lot of marriage counseling.  And I sat down one time with a young couple and they both looked like super models, you know?  They were telling me about their marriage.  And here’s what the husband said, “You know, Ed, I just don’t feel in love anymore.  I just don’t feel it anymore.”  And I said, “Your question?”  The incredible insight.  He said, “Well, I just don’t feel it.”  I said, “I don’t either.  I don’t always feel it.”  I said, “Man, you’re signing up for a whack-a-doodle-do life if you depend on the feelings thing.”  Feelings?  Feelings?  That’s nutty.  That’s why our culture is so crazy now.  We’re all about feelings.

Commitment.  We act our way to a feeling.  We don’t feel our way into an action.  “Well, I don’t feel like being the kind of wife to my husband I should.”  Good!  Act like it!  You have a covenant, a commitment before God.  Act like it!  The feelings will follow.

“I don’t feel like working out.”  You’re not going to.  Just start working out.  Just start eating healthy.  The feelings will follow.  I usually feel good after I’ve worked out.  I feel good after I’ve eaten disciplined the whole day, but not while I’m eating the stuff.  It tastes like Styrofoam, you know?  Commitment.  Actions drive the deal.

Compromise.  You want to live a life of compromise?  Feelings drive the deal.  Feelings drive your actions.  I’ll just feel my way into it.  You know, if I feel it, then….”  Well, you could have gotten a hold of some bad sushi, some bad pizza.

I talked to somebody recently, and here’s what they told me.  This is classic.  “I just don’t feel like forgiving.  I just haven’t come to the point where I feel like it.”  You never will!  I have never felt feelings of forgiveness.  Ever.  It’s not going to happen!  We do it because of God.  We just do it.  We don’t feel our way into, “Ahhh, I just won’t forgive until I feel like it.”  You’ll never feel like it.

Feelings are freaky, man.  They’re funky.  It’s about commitment.  Now, I’m not saying that feelings will not follow, but feelings flow like the tide charts.  High tide, low tide.  High tide, low tide.  My feelings don’t always high tide.  [Ed breaks into song]  “Feelings.  Whoa, whoa, whoa, feelings.”  Feelings.

Let’s go to the next one.  Oh!  You want some scriptural support for that?  Philippians 3:13, what did Paul say?  He said, “But this one thing I feel like doing…” NO!  He said, “But this one thing I do.”  This one thing I do.


The second set of choices: service or self.  Matthew 20:26, Jesus said, “You want to become great become a servant?” 

I think Britney Spears said it best, “Ya gotta serve somebody!”  No, she didn’t say that!  Some of you are going, “Really?  She said that?  I didn’t realize that.”  No!  That was Bob Dylan, not Britney Spears.  Whoa!  “Ya gotta serve somebody.  Ya gotta serve somebody.”

We live in Dallas/Fort Worth.  I’m glad I have this belt buckle on, the belt buckle of the Bible belt.  The place where we worship the Bible.  The Bible is not supposed to be worshiped.  “Oh, I’ve got to study the Bible.  Study and information!”  No, no, no, no, no, no.  That’s not it.  The Bible is not written for our information.  It’s written for our transformation.  You want to grow?  “Oh, I know, Ed.  I need another Bible study.”  No, you don’t.  No, you don’t.  You want to grow?  Get outside of yourself!

I’ve gone to the seminary, gotten a degree in Hebrew, and done the doctrinal work.  How have I grown the most?  By getting outside of Ed.  Not thinking about Ed.  Not thinking about Ed’s naval and the lent in Ed’s naval and singing “Kumbyah, my Lord.  Kumbyah, it’s about me Lord.  Kumbyah.”

You’re not going to grow that way.  You’re going to grow when you do what Jesus did.  You apply and live out his stuff.  You step out and live out his stuff.  You become a servant.  I don’t think about me.  I think about you.  That’s how I grow.  That’s how we grow.  That’s what the Bible says.  And see, we don’t like to hear it because we just want to sit there and soak it in, “Just feed me, baby.  Just go ahead and feed me.”


Giving or getting.  That’s the third set of answers.  Giving or getting.  Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than receive.” 

Is God anti-ownership?  Is God anti-stuff?  Is God anti-money?  No.  No, he’s not.  “You mean it’s okay to have goals to get stuff?”  Yeah!  Man, good for you; go for it!  Pile it up.  Make a lot of money.  Good for you!  Houses, whatever.  Yeah, that’s good.  Good, good, good.  But here’s the caveat.  We should never get to get.  Too many of us get to get.  If you get to get, you’re going to live a life that’s whack-a-doodle-do.  If you meet people who have a lot of stuff, who got a lot of stuff just to get it, they’re whacked!  Most of the people I know who are the wealthiest people I know are the wackiest people I’ve ever known.  Have you known people who are wealthy?  Most of them are just nuts!  They get to get.  If you get to get, you’re signing up for a long, lonely life.

We get to give.  We get to give.  God’s given it.  We give it.  God’s given it, we get it.  I should become a river, not a reservoir that dams all the stuff up.  If we’ve got the stuff, we’re to give it.  I get to give.  And here’s the cool thing about God.  God has said, just minimally, we can live on 90% of the stuff.  He said that.  We’re to give 10% to the local church.  God could have said, “You know what?  You give 95% to the church and you live on 5.  I’m God, you’re not.”

But the answer is going to be about giving, not getting.  Financially, it’s going to be that way, giving our talents and our time.  It’s about giving.  It’s about giving.  It’s about having a loose grip on the stuff we get in this life.  So we get it, we give it; we get it, we give it; we get it, and we give it.

We’ve got to ask the right people the questions to get the right answers.  If we don’t, we’re going to end up like I was on that television show.  “Just what do I do?  Where are the answers?”  I didn’t ask the right people the right questions, and I ended up all messed up.

The bottom line, though, is questions.  “Questions” comes from the word “quest,” which means an adventure or a journey.  Do your questions reflect your quest, your quest to discover God’s best?  I don’t know.  That’s a question you have to answer and I have to answer too.