September 9-10, 2010
You know, Fellowship Church is a God-thing. To God be the glory. It is incredible, incredible what he has done! What a phenomenal ride! Thank you guys for being here and celebrating this 20-year anniversary, two God-made decades!
You know, everything on stage relates to the church. All of these objects relate to the body of Christ. They relate to our past but also they relate to the future.
It has been raining a lot and you’ve probably seen these around, umbrellas. Umbrellas are pretty important when it’s raining. God is a God of the umbrella. Did you know that? He is a God of covering, the God of authority. And he tells us in no uncertain terms to get under His authority. So to go up, we’ve got to get under. We have to get under those things God has placed over us so we can get over those things God has placed under us.
Authority. There is authority everywhere. Think about it. We all have authority issues; I do, you do. Either God is God and we’re under His authority or we’re god. I’m god or God is God. And that’s a struggle that we face, don’t we? God has authority in every slice of life. There is authority at the office, authority at the school, authority on the team, authority in the church, authority in the marriage, authority, authority, authority! Authority issues.
One of the amazing things about Fellowship Church is the fact that we understand the authority of God. Jesus is Lord. Once we make the decision to come beneath His authority and trust Him in all sectors of life, then we will discover who we are, whose we are, and what we are. But if we remain here? I mean, how stupid would I look if it’s pouring down rain and I’m like this. You’d be like, “What’s this dude smokin’?” I’d get drenched. But if we’re like this in life we get drenched in dysfunction. We get pelted by problems, hammered by hell, when we’re like this.
So, Fellowship Church, over the last 20 years, I want to thank you. So many have gotten under the authority of God, a place of protection (we’re protected, we’re in the sweet spot of His success), also a place of perfection.
“Well, I can’t get under God’s authority until I respect the people in authority.” If we wait for that we’ll never get under God’s authority system because he has imperfect people in your life and mine to mold us and to shape us, to perfect us into his people. We’re like diamonds in the rough. A diamond in the rough is U-G-L-Y, you ain’t got no alibi, UGLY! God uses authority to do what? To make us into beautiful diamonds.
God is a God of authority. He has placed the Word as our authority. The Bible is our authority here at Fellowship Church, here in a Biblically functioning community. It’s the Scriptures. Also, he has given us the church as an authority. And when we’re under the authority of God we can see. It’s raining, I mean some crazy weather is happening out there, but because we’re under God’s authority we can see who we are, whose we are, what we are. We can see where to take the steps and we can see and understand and discern our purposes in life. It’s about authority.
Also, when you’re under the authority of God you can hear God cheering. Did you know God is the God of the cheer? “You got it, now use it! You got it, now use it!” I heard that cheer one day. And I believe those cheers are ringing in our ears because God is saying, “You’ve got it… you’ve got creativity, now use it!”
When I’m under the authority of God I see the fact that I’m made in His image and that I’m a creative genius. What? Yeah, all of us are creative geniuses. I truly believe that the church should be the most innovative entity in the universe. God does not want you and me to splash around with our floaties on in the little baby pool, the peepee pool. No! He wants us to ride on the crest of creativity. And the question should not be, “OK God, make me creative.” He’s already done that. The question should be “God, what are the barriers that are keeping the creativity blocked up, dammed up, in my life?”
What’s so cool about creativity is God is a creative Creator. The Father invented creativity, the Son modeled creativity, the Holy Spirit empowers creativity. People need creativity. Creativity and questions are inseparably linked. Twenty-five hundred times the Bible asks questions. Questions, questions, questions. You’ve got questions and creativity, creativity and questions. It’s like caffeine on a coffee bean. You can’t separate the two.
Here, we ask two major questions; we’ve done it for 20 years. God-sized questions: 1) What if? That’s when we dream, we vision-cast, the intangible. And 2) What is? OK, the intangible becomes tangible. It is what it is. Then we critique it, we ask questions about it, and we go to the next level. What if? What is? What if? What is? What if? What is? It’ll change your life! But it starts with the authority of God. It starts by listening to the cheers ringing in your ears. And believe me, I’ve heard a lot of cheers in my life. You pretty much saw the sum total of my college basketball highlights right there. You pretty much saw everything I did. So I’ve heard some cheers, man! “You’ve got it, now use it.” Fellowship Church is called the church that’s creative. Wow! Innovative. Wow! Contemporary. Wow!
In Matthew 13, the Bible says that Jesus always used parables. He never, ever did anything without telling a story. So, all we’re simply doing is taking a page out of His playbook and bringing it to today’s culture. That’s what we’re doing.
Yet so often when you have change (because when you create you’ve got to start something and you have to stop something), when you create, what happens? You have some chaos. You’ve got some push-back. Change – Chaos – Growth. So many of us, though, resist change because of the resistance. Everybody doesn’t dig it. Everybody doesn’t like it. So, because of that a lot of people go, “Well, I’m just gonna do it the same way we’ve always done it.” That’s not honoring the nature and the character of God. We change, we stay with the conflict, we navigate through the chaos, there is always gonna be growth.
And to grow and to discover who you are, whose you are, and what you are, to understand the genius of God’s authority and to hear the cheer in your ear, you’ve got to have people who will fight. The sword. That’s right, you’ve got to have people who will have a sword in one hand and a tool in the other. That’s what the Bible says.
You remember Nehemiah? Nehemiah did something everybody said could not be done. He rebuilt the city walls around Jerusalem. People were like, “There’s no way you can do that!” Nehemiah is a study of creativity, a study of leadership, a study of surrounding himself with the right “they.” His people had a sword in one hand and a tool in the other. A faith fight and also a work ethic that was monstrous. Who are “they?” Seriously, now, who are the “they” in your life? Because when we get under the authority of God, when we hear His cheer, he will give us the discernment to surround ourselves with the right “they.” T-H-E-Y. The right “they” are tenacious, they are honest, they are encouraging, yes-people who say “yes” to God, who say “yes” to His vision. They are yielded, that’s the right “they.”
Whenever I talk to people and they start describing to me the problems they’ve had, the difficulties they’ve had, whenever I discuss it with them they talk about ending up in the deep weeds or the wheels coming off, I always say, “Hey man, tell me what happened? I mean, when did your life start falling apart?” They always say this, four words, “I had these friends…” I don’t care if they’re 15 or 65, “I had these friends…” We get under the authority of God, we walk in creativity, we’ll say, “I have these friends…” Who are you cutting from your herd? Are you surrounding yourself with the wrong “they” or the right “they.” “They” always have something to say. Because the right “they” will keep you above the fray and they’ll pray. The wrong “they” will drag you in the fray and you’ll become prey.
It’s amazing how many awesome people we have at Fellowship Church. I cannot believe it. I cannot thank God enough for the wonderful “theys” that I’ve met right here. Because when you walk in creativity, when you walk in change, when you walk in a little bit of chaos, when you walk in growth, everybody ain’t gonna dig it. So the right “they” have to be people who understand the faith fight. It’s a fight, man.
Fellowship Church did not just happen. Fighters! We fought and we fight for God’s vision. It didn’t just kind of happen. Wow, all of a sudden we have all this, and this methodology, and then this creativity and innovation, it did not just happen! You’ve got to have people who are willing to fight, people who have got your back, people who are tough and honest and encouraging, and people who have said “yes” to God’s vision, “yes” to his authority, and they are yielded. Do you have the right “they” in your life?
You’ve got to fight for your marriage. You’ve got to fight for your family. You’ve got to fight against that substance abuse. You’ve got to fight that addiction. Do you have fighters in your life? Or do you have people who just play it soft? People who just go with the flow? That’s not Biblical Christianity. Jesus was not some pale, frail, blue-eyed, decaf-sipping white boy! He was a man’s man, a carpenter. He was responsible from the foundation to the finish-out and he only built one thing… the church. We’ve got to have fighters in the church. We’ve got to have some testosterone in the church, man! We’ve got to have some estrogen in the church! You’ve got to fight, but not only fight, but you’ve got to work. I mean every single weekend I am totally blown away by the work here at Fellowship Church.
Do you realize Fellowship Church, (and we do not advertise this), Fellowship Church is one of the most attended churches in North America. We have been on all the lists for all these years. Rah, rah, rah. Go, team, go. I mean, that’s amazing! It really, really is. We’ve baptized, over 20 years, over 25,000 people! So, to think about that and to think about the people, by God’s grace, that we’ve reached you’ve got to have people who work. And of all the churches, take the top 20 most attended churches in North America, I bet you cash money we have the smallest staff of any of them. You know what that means? We have some people who can work it, baby, work it!
Also, too, it forces us to utilize volunteers to make this thing happen. I mean, you walk in here, you see the history of Fellowship Church, you see all of the beautiful signage, the creativity in the short film, the video, the children’s ministries, the missions ministries, our television that reaches around the world, our retreat and conference center in East Texas, all of our campuses. We have a staff that is called to God’s vision. They are the right “they” and they’ve surrounded themselves with the right “they.” I’m talking about you guys who have made this happen. It takes thousands and thousands of volunteers just for Fellowship Church to happen. And it happens because of relationships, it happens because of the right “they.”
So, to look into the future, man, we’ve got to understand authority like we have never understood it before! To go up you’ve got to get under. We’ve got to listen to the cheer in our ear and go, “Wow, God, I’m gonna step out into creativity!” There is no telling the ideas that are out there right now that will underscore and highlight and will develop over the next 20 years. God’s given them to you right now. That’s the future. You’re talking about fight? Oh, we’re in a faith fight. We’re in a battle.
The devil himself is not gonna sit in his Jacuzzi and sip a martini while we populate Heaven. He’s not gonna do it without a fight. So, if you’re not into the fight thing, go somewhere else, go to a holy huddle, a stained-glass fortress, because we need your seat. We need to seat a people who are visionary, who are fighters. The right “they” do something. You know what the right “they” does? They make sure that the table is at the center of the church.
The church is all about the table. I’m the dude with the food. God called me to pastor Fellowship Church. Lisa could be the dudette with the foodette! John 6:35, Jesus said, “I am the Bread of life.” Can you imagine serving the Bread of life in a boring way? Can you imagine serving it in a predictable way? Can you imagine serving it where people couldn’t understand it? Can you imagine serving the Bread of life when you know there are people showing up who are dying without Christ? People whose marriages are hanging by a thread? Whose families are all screwed up? Can you imagine doing that? It’s the greatest thing in the world, church work. Church is the greatest thing, work is the hardest thing.
We’ve got to keep the table at the forefront of the church. It’s amazing to do a study of how many times the word “table” or the concept of the table is used throughout Scripture. But for a Biblically functioning community to be healthy you’ve got to have a third of your church, a third of the church should be people who are far away from God. I will say it again. You’ve gotta have a hunk of people who are facing an eternity without Jesus IF your church is a TRUE New Testament church. At Fellowship Church, we planned it for those who ain’t shown up yet.
A friend of mine is a pastor and he told me several years ago he watched a guy commit his life to Christ. He told me about all the change that his church did just to reach people just like this guy. And he watched this guy make this eternal transaction. After this man had been in his church several years he walked into my friend and goes,
“Hey man, I’m leaving this church and going to another one.” And my friend goes,
“Why? I mean, you became a Christian here.” He said,
“The church has changed too much.” My friend said,
“Wait a minute. I want you to think about what you just said. We had a group of people before you showed up who made some major changes and because of the changes we made you became a follower of Christ. And you can sit there and tell me that you’re not willing to make the change for the next generation? For the next people?”
If I’d had a church like this growing up, if I’d had a church like this at Florida State, man, I would have brought someone to church with me every single weekend! I thank you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing your friends to Fellowship Church, but don’t stop. If you’re not bringing someone regularly to Fellowship Church at least once a month, you’re being disobedient to the New Testament. A third should be people who are far away from God.
The other third should be those who are brand new believers. Man, that’s cool! They’ve just been born again into the family of God. A third should be that. I’m talking about babies and I’m talking about spiritual teenagers.
Teenagers are a trip. I mean, we all have been teenagers, those of us who are adults. As a teenager, let me tell you, you think you know more than you know. Teenagers think they understand the deal, the 4-1-1. “I’m the man! I’m the woman! Mom and Dad, you don’t know Jack!” You know what I’m saying to you teenagers! Ed Hardy-wearing, tattoo-comparing, oh yeah, man! Car-driving, hormone-thriving teenagers!
Hey teenagers, I want you to take a long look at your parents. Just look at your parents. Your parents used to be cool! I’m telling you man, they used to be cool, but you jacked them up! Man, you messed them up! But once you leave the house they’ll get cool again. We used to know how to walk, didn’t we? We used to know how to dress, but man, kids will mess you up! And we have a lot of teenagers here at Fellowship Church. We understand.
If you ever wonder who’s a spiritual teenager, teenagers only think about themselves. I mean, it’s incredible! They only think about themselves! The selfishness is just nuts! So, whenever you hear someone say, “I… Me… My.. I, I, I, me, me, me, my, my, I, I, I,” then just stop and say to yourself, “I’m talking to a spiritual teenager, man.” And that’s good! We love teenagers, we love children, but see we want this ecosystem to happen, move from this chair to that chair. That chair to this chair.
What’s this chair? The core. The mature. We have a core at Fellowship Church. We’ve had a core for 20 years that is just ridiculous. Unbelievable. The sacrifice, the selflessness, the servant heart, the sharing and just thinking about others is absolutely a God thing.
When you’re old enough to walk down the wedding runner and get married, what happens? You really start maturing. You’re like, “Wow!” And your parents become smarter and smarter. You’re like, “Mom and Dad, they were pretty smart! I thought they were stupid but man, they’re getting smarter and smarter!” Then, I don’t want to get too specific, but if you have a man and woman, husband and wife, going to bed regularly, many times you’ll have what? Babies. Am I going too fast for anybody? Reproduction. Reproduction. So, when you get married and you have relations and there is reproduction involved, babies involved, students who are involved, teenagers who are involved, what do you do? You begin to do something that is very mature. This is earth-shattering, life-altering. You begin to think about others. You oftentimes put their needs above your needs. It’s maturity! And that is what’s so great about the core of Fellowship Church. That’s spiritual maturity.
Spiritual maturity is not “I, I, I, me, me, me, my, my, my.” It’s not looking for a place, a church to serve you, it’s looking for a place where you can serve! It’s thinking about the others, the mentoring that’s going on here. The leadership development that’s going on here has been great over the last 20 years. But over the next 20 years it’s gonna get greater and greater, more intense. It’s gonna happen to a degree that we’ve never thought possible! So, it’s about others. It’s about others! That’s maturity. It’s about others. It’s about others. It’s about others!
So, as the dude with the food, every time we’re planning something at Fellowship Church we think about the empty chair, (those who are hell-bound), we think about the teenagers, the baby Christian, and we think about the mature. Can you imagine how rude it would be if you invited someone over to your house or apartment and you did not include everybody in the conversation? Can you imagine how rude it would be to just launch into some story, and they’re like, “What are you talking about?” That’s highly rude. You bring everybody up to context.
The church of the next two decades that will do the stuff and reach the people will never, ever lose sight of the table. This high chair, I-chair, represents many people who just remain spiritual infants. Wah…wahh… wahhh! Crying, whining, loud, needy, dysfunctional, crazy.
And here’s where leaders mess up. Sometimes, and we all love babies, but sometimes leaders, and I’ve seen them, will turn their back on the table, their back on the masses, their back on the chairs, and just appease the babies. “Here, I will feed you. Here you go. Let me feed you and feed you and feed you!” Whoa, parents. Something awesome happens. One day your kids learn how to feed themselves… say it again… feed themselves. That’s what we do at Fellowship Church. This is revolutionary! We teach babies how to do what? Feed themselves! So you feed as you feed others, as you grow, as you think about others, as you share, as you sow, as you serve, that’s growth! The table.
But also, you see something on the table, when it comes to the table that’s where you eat. You dine, but you don’t sit there and get fat. You push away from the table and do the stuff.
Candy. I love what Jerry Seinfeld says about candy. He says, “When a child is 1-10 they have a two-word mission statement: Get candy. Get candy. Get candy. Get candy. Get candy. Get candy.” I truly believe that. That’s what kids think about.
Years ago when the kids were small, Lisa and I took them to a high school football game and Landra asked me, “Dad, can I have some money? I’m gonna go to the snack bar and get some candy.” We don’t eat a lot of candy in our house but I said OK. I gave her five dollars, she went to the snack bar. I saw her, watched her, and she came back with some Skittles. She was eating the Skittles. I go,
“Landra, can I have some Skittles?”
“What’s the matter? Come on, man, just a couple of Skittles?”
“No! They’re mine!”
Landra did not understand several things: 1) Her father bought them for her. 2) If her father wanted to he could forcibly take them from her. 3) I could get my credit card and buy so much Skittles from that snack bar I could rain Skittles on her little head! She did not understand that!
Man, we come to church with our Skittles, with our stuff, right? And our Heavenly Father goes, “Hey, can I have just a couple Skittles?” Because, you know the Bible talks a lot about Skittles. From cover to cover.
“Can I have just a few Skittles? Just the first 10%?”
“No! That’s mine!”
And we, like Landra, don’t understand several things. 1) Our Father in Heaven gave us the ability to even get Skittles. Wow. 2) We don’t get the fact that if God wanted to He could take them from us. Like that. 3) Also, we don’t understand the fact that if God wanted to he could rain so many Skittles on our little heads from Heaven we could not hold it. Skittles. I’m telling you, man, we’ve got some people here who have brought the Skittles. Sometimes people think at Fellowship Church that we have a number of heavy hitters that finance this thing and that’s totally false. Totally false! We’ve had a couple of big gifts over 20 years but that’s about it. It’s normal people.
But I’m gonna tell you something, you’ll love this. Over the next two decades God is gonna bless some of you, I’m talking about financially, and you’ll be like, “Why am I getting blessed like this? I’m not that smart. Whoa, these Skittles are coming from everywhere!” You’re blessed to be a blessing!
The good news is we’ve got the Skittles. The challenge is we’ve got to release them. You will never discover what it means to walk in freedom, liberation, creativity. You’ll never understand the table until you begin to get in on the Skittles. Never, EVER! I don’t care if you make squillions or if you have just a few dimes. You’re never gonna get it! And people are like, “Wow! Man, I can’t believe you said that!” Do you think this stuff again just happens?
You look at Fellowship Church… we built Fellowship Church for the most part in a schizophrenic economy. Go back in the day. Horrible economic conditions. We ain’t playing it safe. I mean we got this land here and this building we could have said, “OK, we’ve got 20,000 people, we’re doing five services, let’s just stay here.” We don’t have some big trust or some endowment or whatever. If we stop bringing the Skittles for about a month or six weeks we would have to shut the doors. So don’t talk to me about faith. Don’t talk to me about risk-taking, bro. When we receive Skittles it goes to ministry. Buying the buildings in Dallas and Fort Worth, leasing the huge building in Plano, the campus in Miami, building Allaso Ranch. Thirty million dollars. That stuff ain’t paid for, man. We’ve gotta bring Skittles in the future like never before.
I’m telling you, you’re blessed to be a blessing. It’s between you and God. You heard me say, “Our biggest investment ever has been right here, the local church.” Skittles. I mean, all this stuff costs some stuff. I don’t want to think about how much money we have invested in technology. I don’t even know. I don’t want to know. Millions. Buildings? I don’t even want to know. I have no idea. I don’t even want to know. People do, but I don’t. I don’t even want to know about it. It would freak me out. I can’t get my mind around this place. I’m the most surprised person here! I show up and I’m like, “Wow!” I mean, yeah, we worked our rears off and it’s a God thing and all that, but I mean, I’m the most surprised and shocked person in the house. I guarantee I am. I didn’t sign up for this. But Skittles, amazingly, are related to this. A life ring. Because the ring is a thing.
Quick story: A year ago, I was fishing in a little 16’ boat with a friend of mine, named Beau. And we were making our way to the marina. The marina was close and we saw a guy fighting for his life in the ocean and we saw this guy’s boat about 100 yards away from him. Obviously he had fallen out, the dude was drowning. We rescued him. And this guy was such a monster when we pulled him into the boat our boat was taking on water. Anyway, we saved the guy’s life. We just happened to be driving our boat at the right time, the sun was setting, it was a crazy story. And then we put the guy on his boat, once he regained his composure. We turned out boat, Beau and I did, and made our way to the marina.
Marinas are interesting because marinas are always occupied. Have you noticed that? They’re never empty. That’s a whole nother subject. All this money, boats creatively tied up, stacked up in marinas. So, we’re making our way to this marina and we saw about a quarter-of-a-million-dollar boat tied up. And there was a guy standing on the bow. And this guy was just ripped! You know, tanned, whatever, and there he was. And by him was this girl. Hopefully it was his wife. She had on the resemblance of a bikini. I’ve seen more cotton on a Q-tip than what she had on. Anyway, as we got closer both of these people, it was just eerie, they waved at us, smiled, and then the guy whacked her on the bottom. I looked at my friend and I’m like, “Are you believing this? We just rescued a guy and you could see the whole thing take place from the marina, and they’re smiling and waving and whacking each other on the bottom and this guy is drowning and sinking to the bottom. Isn’t that crazy?”
Then, God spoke to my spirit. He goes, “Ed, that’s the problem with a lot of churches. This marina mentality. They’re tied up to the dock, they’re relaxing, they’re smiling, and waving, whacking each other on the bottom, while people all around them are sinking to the bottom and facing a Christ-less eternity.” The Bible is an anthology of the rescue, the divine rescue, the radically rescued, rescue radically. The church is not a yacht club. We’re not into this marina mentality. We are a rescue society. Research yacht clubs. So many of them started out as rescue societies. Inevitably though the people got tired, they got comfortable, they started concentrating on champagne and caviar. We’re not a yacht club. We’re a rescue society.
What do you like to do? I mean, what do you like to do recreationally? Some like to hunt, some like to fish, some like to play golf, some like to antique, some like to decorate, some like sculpture, some like watercolor, some like oil painting, some like this and that, and that and this. What do you like to do? God smiles when we’re doing what we like to do. Just like your kids. Man, you smile when they’re enjoying their passion.
My passion is fishing. I love to fish. It’s a Biblical sport. I would challenge you, church, when you pursue your passion, pursue it with people who are far away from God. Pursue it with people who don’t know Christ. Because God wants to leverage your passion for his purpose.
I fish in these fishing tournaments. They’re kind of small fishing tournaments, no really big cash prize, it’s more just bragging rights, you know. And I got to know this fisherman about a year and a half, two years ago, named Drew. And this dude, if you googled the word “pagan” his picture would come up. I mean, just trust me! So I got to know him a little bit. The guy has never been to church in his life, never read the Bible in his life. One day we’re out there fishing together, just he and I in this 16’ boat, and he’s like,
“Hey, what is Christianity?” I knew I had to give him a good answer. He goes, “In one word, how would you describe Christianity?” And God just gave me this word. I said,
“Grace.” He said,
“Grace?! What is f-ing grace?” And I explained to him,
“It’s something we don’t deserve, man. Something that we’ll never merit. It’s what God did for us through Christ.” He goes,
“Really? That’s crazy.” And we went on fishing. I got to know him and he invited me to stay at his little house for a couple days one time, and he talked about his girlfriend. He’s like 40, his girlfriend’s a stripper, she’s 23 years old. She has an eight-year-old kid and they’re on dope, and you know, blah-blah-blah. So, you know, I just talked to him since he’s a friend, but I could tell that he was really seeking. And one day, I told him, I said,
“Drew, I think you’re seeking God, man.” He goes,
“Oh man, I’m definitely looking for something.” And he went off on some tangent, Buddhism and meditation and all this crazy stuff. So some of my friends, the right “they” began to hang out with him a little bit, talk to him a little bit, fish with him a little bit, had some lunches and breakfast with him a little bit. So when I fished in this tournament about six weeks ago I chose Drew as my fishing partner, my guide. So, the tournament starts and these guys I fish with, who are totally far away from God, are walking with me and they’re laughing, going,
“What are you doing? You’re a pastor fishing with Drew! What are you guys talking about? I mean, what do you even talk about out there! Hey man, come here! This pastor is fishing with Drew.” And they were just dying laughing. They thought it was really funny. It is kinda funny.
So, Drew and I began to fish. We fished day 1… one fish. Day 2… bagel. Day 3… nada. And during those days, I mean you’re spending nine hours on a little boat with a guy, I mean you start talking. You get to know somebody. You’re getting beat to death by the ocean, trying to fly fish for these tarpon. The fourth day, nothing. And I looked around on the last part of the fourth day and I said to myself, “Wow, Self, this is where you rescued a drowning guy a year ago… same spot!” and I’m looking back and I’m seeing Drew and I’m thinking to myself, “Drew’s drowning.” And I just felt the Holy Spirit of God prompting me to talk to him. We talked a little bit about God and Jesus and he goes,
“Yeah man, your friends, they have something about them that I would love to have.” I said,
“Drew, let me tell you a story. A year ago in this spot we rescued a guy from drowning.” He said,
“Man, that is f-ing great! Incredible! That you were there, man, that you were there!” I said,
“Drew, listen.” I said, “You’re in the same situation but even worse. You are drowning and you’re facing an eternity, Drew, without the Lord. Drew, why do you think we’re together? I mean, I’m a preacher, man! And look at you… I mean, that we would be friends. God caused us to collide for me to give you this message. If I never see you again, Drew, I believe that you need to get rescued.” He goes,
“Well, what are you talking about?” I said,
“Drew, you know, we talked about grace, and we talked about Jesus, what He did. He died on the cross for our sins and rose again.” I said, “You need to accept that, man!” I said, “You’ve tried everything else. We won’t get into that but you’ve tried everything there is to try. Why not try Christ? Why not just try Him?” I said, “I can’t make you do it.” We’re in the middle of the ocean, in a tournament. So the dude just stops, he starts crying. He goes,
“I want Jesus in my life. When can we do it?” I said,
“We can do it right now.” He goes,
“Out here?” I said,
“Right now! Just look at me and just say the same words that I said years ago when I made this transaction. You can say it. Dear God,”
“I turn from my sin.”
“I turn from my sin.”
“that you sent Jesus,”
“that you sent Jesus,”
“to die on the cross,”
“to die on the cross,”
“for all of my junk.”
“for all of my junk.”
“I turn from that,”
“I turn from that,”
“and ask you, Jesus Christ,”
“and ask you, Jesus Christ,”
“to come into my life.”
“to come into my life.”
It was so paradoxical. One minute I was fishing for fish,
and the next minute, by God’s grace, I’m fishing for men. Now, sometimes when I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of an eternal transaction, I will either take someone’s picture after they made this decision, or even sometimes I’ve even shot video. I had my iPhone with me and I took it out of its waterproof casing and I shot a video of Drew’s response several hours after making this decision. You want to see it?
Ed: Drew, tell me about, I mean, just again, you’re a brand new believer, only hours, hours old since the decision. But tell me about, what are you feeling right now? I mean obviously this is brand new to you.
Drew: I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my back. I just feel like, I mean I just kind of feel, kinda complete, as much as anything. Just like, kind of like a purpose, like more of a direction than I think I’ve ever had before in my life. More at ease, just more… I don’t even really know how to explain it. I got a heck of a long way to go. I mean, you know, don’t get me wrong, but I feel, it feels good!
Ed: Well, Drew, man, listen. I’m so proud of you and I love you. And what an incredible time out here that we can enjoy God’s creation. But the most important thing, you becoming a believer, I tell ya that’s the greatest. I mean, that’s greater, as I said, than winning 20 gold-cup tarpon tournaments. I’m serious man.
Drew: Now we gotta go out and win more!
Ed: That’s right brother! Congratulations. I love you, man.
Drew: Yeah, I love you too. That was great.
I’m telling you, that is what it’s about! One life at a time. And hey, I just happened to be on the receiving end of that. People had shared with him, prayed with him, talked with him, and I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. But who is your Drew? Who?
So many in your life and mine are just one question away from salvation. One question away from following Jesus. One invitation away from Fellowship Church from making that eternal transaction.
Maybe you’re here, in the balcony, maybe you’re on the back row, maybe you’re in Miami and you’re in the back row. And maybe you’re like, “Ed, I’m that dude! I’m Drew!” Well, I’ve got some great news for you. The same thing that happened to Drew six weeks ago can happen to you right now.
“But wait a minute, man. You don’t realize what I’m involved in.”
Are you kidding me?
“You don’t realize what I did last night?”
Are you kidding me?!
“You don’t realize what a no-count, what a liar, what an adulterer, what a cheat, what greed, what lust…”
I don’t know, but God loves you. He wants to meet you right where you are. Right where you are. Drew did it on a boat, you can do it right here just by simply saying some words with me.
[Ed leads in closing prayer]
Thank you for the last 20 years. Thank you for the next 20 years. May we never, ever, ever lose the focus of the church, which is all about the ring.