Anatomy of a Wave
June 9, 2013
There are times in life when we discover the essence of who we really are. There are moments when we gain a clear understanding of our purpose. It is these times we hope to capture, because this is when we realize the momentum we truly have.
In this series, Pastor Ed Young unleashes the truth about God’s plan for our lives that few dare to dream. And he shows us that the momentum in our lives is just the beginning of what is in store, because the journey ahead is greater than the path we have ridden to this point!
Today we’re talking about Riding Giants, riding waves. You know, summer is a time of waves. It’s a time where we think about water, we think about those fun things. So for the next several weeks we’re talking about riding giants. Hopefully you’ve worn your beach wear if you can. Again, subtle beach wear, if you feel me.
I do want to welcome everybody at our different environments. We have campuses all over the place. You know, several years ago we were having 20-or-so thousand people attending our main campus here in gorgeous Grapevine and we were having some serious egress and ingress issues. So we asked ourselves, OK, do we build the American Airlines Center with 20,000 seats? “Starting at guard… #12… Ed Young!” Do we do that? Or do we leverage technology and disperse and plant churches all over everywhere? So we decided to go into technology. It was a very good financial move and now we have campuses, if you’re brand new, in Downtown Dallas, Downtown Fort Worth, Plano, Allaso Ranch, one soon to be opened in the Southlake/Keller area. We have two in London that are kicking off. London, England, that is, not London, Texas. London, England. In October we had one in Columbia, South Carolina, and two in MIA-Miami. So we’re one church in many locations. And what’s weird about it is, I mean we have a big group today – It’s raining here in Grapevine, thanks for showing up.
You know, people say that Dallas is a churched area. You gotta be crazy. Dallas is not a churched area. No one, absolutely no one is on the freeways, no one’s moving around on Sunday morning. Have you noticed that? We’re not a churched area. Yeah, we’re a … I call it the churched/unchurched area, Dallas/Fort Worth. Most of us in Dallas/Fort Worth have been inoculated with enough Christianity not to catch the real disease. That’s true. That’s why we’re talking about waves. God works in waves.
We’re infatuated with waves. Have you ever just sat back and watched waves? Maybe you’ve locked onto a certain web site, a surf web site. Maybe you’ve looked at YouTube. Maybe you’ve seen these guys surfing these giant waves. Laird Hamilton, there’s a cat out there named Flea. It’s really cool to see people surf giant waves.
Giant waves don’t happen everywhere. I mean, you’re not gonna go to your local reservoir and go, “Whoa! There’s a 60-foot giant wave!” it’s not gonna happen there. You’re not gonna go to Galveston, Texas or South Beach and see any giant waves. It’s not gonna happen. You’re not gonna go to Lake Murray, that’s in South Carolina, and see giant waves. Giant waves are unique. They’re one of a kind. And I’m gonna tell you that God works in waves.
Waves come in sets, really about sets of seven. You have to understand when you ride giant waves that there’s a danger in the approach of the wave and catching the right wave. Could it be that some of you right now are splashing around in the shallows of same-ness? Could it be that you’re like, “You know, I’m doing the same old same old and nothing is working. Nothing is happening for me. Ed, my life is anything but riding a wave. I’m not riding giants, I’m just splashing around with my floaties on.”
Maybe you feel that way in your life. Maybe you feel that way in your marriage. Maybe you feel that way as you face this long, hot summer. Maybe you feel that way in your career. Maybe you’re 50 years old, 40 years old, maybe you’re 25 years old and you’ve done a lot of stuff and you look back and go, “Man, I’m not really a person of momentum. There’s no real inertia in my life.” I would argue that we’re made for waves. I would argue that we want momentum, we’re built for inertia. One of the reasons I believe that we’re so infatuated with water, especially giant waves, is because God created them and I believe God wants us to ride waves.
I’ve been doing a lot of research on waves and let me just throw some research at you that will help you and will sort of give us a grid regarding where we’re gonna go over the next couple of minutes. You might be wondering how are big waves formed? What’s the anatomy of a giant wave? I’m not talking about a tsunami, I’m not talking about a rogue wave, I’m talking about giant waves, like <song melody> that you ride.
The first thing, you’ve gotta have weather. Am I going to fast? Am I going to rapid? I know that’s deep. Weather. Say it with me, weather. You’ve gotta have a major weather event to have a giant wave. A low pressure system has to come in close proximity to a high pressure system. From there energy is created. The energy is translated from the air to wind, and that’s the second aspect of the anatomy of a giant wave.
You’ve gotta have some wind! I mean some real wind! And the wind emerges from the energy with this low pressure and high pressure systems that are in close proximity to one another. It’s translated and transferred from the air to the water. So you’ve got the weather, you’ve got the wind.
Then you’ve got swells. You know what swells are. And then the swells as they move across the ocean some thousands of miles they have to have the right location. That’s the third thing! Oh we’re learning a lot.
So for a giant wave #1 you’ve gotta have what? <weather> #2 you’ve gotta have what? <wind> #3 you’ve gotta have what? <location> Location! In real estate you buy anything what do they say? Location, location, location. If you’re gonna become a giant wave surfer, location, location, location. If you’re gonna discover the great things that God has for you in this one and only life, location, location, location.
The topography has to be just right in this location. It goes from the depths to the shallows very quickly. Also the beach has to be set up right. It’s gotta be the right land mass and from there you’ve got a sick break. You’ve got a gnarly break, as the surfers say.
Illus: Now my brother is a huge surfer. He takes surfing trips all the time. He’s gone to Costa Rica, Mexico, he goes to Hawaii. He’s doing his doctoral work right now in California and after his doctoral studies he hits the beach and surfs. He loves surfing. He tells me, “Ed, you’ve gotta surf! There’s nothing like it!” Many times I’ve gone out with Ben and I’ve watched him. I will just watch him surf. And I’ve watched him surf some big waves but not giant waves. Giant waves are on another planet.
Think about waves. Think about your life. Think about just for a second a weather event. Think about just for a second the wind. Think about just for a second the location. Now let’s consider Moses. Because I’ve just told you how God works. God works through storms, God works through winds, and God works through a specific location. Let’s go back to Moses. I’m talking way back.
You remember Moses. Moses was God’s man. God tapped him on the shoulder and basically said, “Moses, you’re gonna be the leader to bring my people out of centuries of slavery.” God’s people, the Israelites, were in Egyptian slavery. It was a train wreck. We find our boy Moses, guys you won’t believe this, working for his father-in-law on the back side of the desert. You’re like, “Moses, you ain’t gonna find any waves there!” I mean Moses could have said, “I ain’t got time for that! I ain’t got time for that! I’m sick and tired. I ain’t gonna find any waves here!” Well, God spoke to Moses, and Moses stu-stu-stu-stuttered. Ne-nene-ne-ne-ya-ya-ya… he couldn’t talk right. He was nervous. Tripped all over himself. In a lot of ways he would have been the last person that God would tap on the shoulder.
See God, though, hits straight licks with crooked sticks. And I can identify with that, can’t you? I don’t care if you can’t speak right, I don’t care if you’re challenged in some way physically, I don’t care if you have this glaring weakness, God wants to use you. God picks up Moses and he says, “Moses! There is a major weather event happening amongst my people! They’re in slavery, they’re in bondage, and you’re gonna be the man to deliver them.” What happened? Moses went from a low pressure system as he met God and dealt with God, and he came in contact with a high pressure system. Energy was created. Are you smelling what I’m stepping in? Are you feeling me? Energy was created. From the energy you have the wind of the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God, I’m talking about the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is not just a New Testament thing. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the trinity. God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit. The moment you become a follower of Christ Jesus does one thing. He places the Holy Spirit inside your life and the Holy Spirit works from the inside, out, to make you into a new person. Throughout the pages of scripture the Holy Spirit gives glory to the Lord. In the New Testament the Holy Spirit is not walking around saying, “I’m the Holy Spirit! I’m the Holy Spirit!” No. The Holy Spirit reveals and reflects the person of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is a person, the Holy Spirit is a comforter, the Holy Spirit is a convicter, the Holy Spirit is literally the presence of God in a follower of the Lord’s life. The Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit was working in Moses’ life. So you’ve got the storm, slavery. You’ve got the storm, you’ve got a bunch of people who came in contact with God’s purpose. You’ve got the winds of the Spirit and now you have Moses telling Pharaoh, “Hey Pharaoh, let my people go!” That’s what Moses said. Let my people go. And finally through this arduous process Pharaoh let them go.
Interesting. You’ve got the storm, #1. #2 you’ve got the wind. And #3 you’ve got a serious wave. God leads us to unusual places to do unusual things. God so often uses the ordinary in an extraordinary way. God could have taken his people, 2 million Jews, can you imagine that? He could have taken them a shorter distance to the Promised Land. He could have taken them through the Philistine country. He didn’t. God took them toward the Red Sea. Read it in your Bible… Toward the water. And I’m sure the Jews were like, “What in the world…? What?….” And they began to whine and complain to God, which we will do many times when we’re catching this wave.
Then they turned on the leader, which is about leadership. I’m talking Leadership 101. Maybe you’re a coach. You’re gonna have people to spew Haterade on you because you’re a leader. Being a leader is not a popular thing. If you wanna be liked by everybody, don’t lead. Because many times you’re not gonna be the most popular person out there. You’re a teacher, you’re gonna have people spewing Haterade at you. You’re a father or a mom leading the family, you’re gonna have Haterade spewed at you. You’re a pastor, you’re gonna have Haterade spewed at you. You’re a doctor, you’re gonna have Haterade spewed at you. Whenever you step up and step out and listen to the voice of God, whenever you say, “God, I’m low, you’re high,” and whenever you have that connectivity, whenever you see it transferred from there to the wind to the Spirit, and whenever you’re led by God and you catch the wave, you’re gonna have some tough stuff. Location.
What did Moses do? Moses let two million Jews ride the biggest wave in the history of the world. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Moses split the water! I mean God did. You wanna talk about waves? The Egyptians were in high speed pursuit, the Egyptians were chasing the Israelites, they were whining and complaining to God and to Moses. Moses splits, by the power of God, the water and guess what? <music sound effect> Two million of them walk through the ocean on dry land to the other side and ultimately the Promised Land. That was the location. That was where the wave was breaking.
So again, #1 weather, #2 wind, #3 location. The right topography was there for this miracle to take place. Go back to Fellowship Church. Think about our 23-year history. Think about what happened. Low pressure met high pressure. Energy. The Bible says in the book of Acts 1:8, “You’ll receive power when the Holy Spirit falls upon you.” The word power in the original language: dynamis. Dynamite. The energy was transferred into the wind of the Spirit.
Number 2, the Spirit began to blow. Back in Irving, Texas and from there what happened? The wave began to crest. The perfect location, the perfect timing, and we’ve been riding waves ever since. So God was like, all right. Here’s a set of gnarly waves. Here’s a set of ridiculous waves. I’m gonna give you guys an opportunity to ride the waves.
Now think about the book of Acts 2, what do we have? We have the beginning of the church. That’s when the church first started. You know what Jesus said? Jesus said, “You know what? I’m going to send you a comforter. I’m going to send you a helper. I’m going to send you a counselor.” What was he talking about? The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit. Co-existent, co-eternal. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is present in your life and mine if you’re a follower of Christ. If you’re not a follower of Christ, I mean if you don’t even believe jack about the Bible, about Jesus, about the things of God, the Holy Spirit works in your life as well. Not to the degree of those of us who are believers, because those of us who are believers, we’ve had this weather event. We’ve discovered, hey God, I’m low. I mean I am fallen and fallible. Yet because of your grace, #1, this low pressure system has met the high pressure system and you’ve taken me from low to high because of your grace. Because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. And because of that… <whoomp!> energy. Power. Dynamis. Acts 1:8 power! And it’s transferred into the wind of the Holy Spirit, #2.
We’re led by the Spirit. The Spirit works from the inside, out to make us into supernatural people, and then the wave has crashed and the wave has crested in the right location. Where’s that? The church. The church has the topography! The church is the place where you catch giant waves! You don’t catch giant waves on the golf course! You don’t catch giant waves at some 5K. You don’t catch giant waves playing AAU basketball. You don’t catch giant waves in any other entity or any other location other than the church.
So we go back to the church and we find that Jesus is saying, “Hey! I’m gonna send you guys the Holy Spirit.” So Jesus dies, is risen, and then <whoomp> he’s back in Heaven. And he says, all right, I’m gonna send you the Holy Spirit.
So check it out now, Acts 2. All the believers are waiting around for the Holy Spirit. They’re like, the Holy Spirit. They kinda remember the Holy Spirit from the Old Testament but not a true manifestation of the Holy Spirit so they’re just waiting around, waiting around in J-Town, in Jerusalem. Waiting around, waiting for the Holy Spirit of God. You know, just waiting. <whistling> and it’s Pentecost so Jews are in from all over everywhere. Squillions of Jews. Jews that speak different languages, different cultures, but they’re Jews and they’re waiting for what? What are they waiting for? Right, the Holy Spirit. They’re waiting. The Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity. What is this Holy Spirit? Jesus said, “I will send you a comforter.”
So the Bible says in Acts 2:1-4, check it out. I love this, I love this. “When the day of Pentecost came…” and we’re talking about the first church. Are you feeling me? Thank you. “… they were all together in one place. Suddenly…” <wind sound effect>
Oh we need to work on our mic. That was a good sound effect. <wind sound> Does that sound good? This mic is jacked up! It’s like a lost… did I lose power a second ago? <wind sound effect> Oh my gosh!! AAAAAHHH!! They were freaking out. I’m gonna write the Sound Effects Bible one day. You know I’ve written about 15 books? That’s my next one. I’m gonna do it. “When the day of Pentecost came they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like <wind sound> violent wind…” Wind. Wind. Are you feeling me? Wind. So you’ve got this storm, low-presha… bu-caws presha busta pipe! Low pressure, hitting high pressure, people becoming followers of Christ. You’ve got the energy, the power of the Holy Spirit. They didn’t really know what the Holy Spirit was that much. Now Jesus says you wait, something’s gonna happen. Now the winds have hit so the weather event (are you tracking with me? Are you smellin’ what I’m stepping in, once again?) you’ve got the wind… All right. “Suddenly the sound of blowing wind, a violent wind, came from Heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire…”
Tongues of fire! That’s odd. Why tongues of fire? Interesting. My tongue is the main muscle of communication. It’s the main muscle that you have of communication.
“… They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.”
The word spirit, say pneuma. Say pneuma with me. That’s the original language. Pneuma. Holy Spirit. Spirit. Pneuma is wind. It’s <breath sound> breath. Interesting. “… and they began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” When the Spirit falls <wind sounds> tongues of fi-yah! come down.
Then they begin speaking but they’re not speaking in their language, they’re speaking in languages that all the other Jews from all the other parts of the world understand. They’re like, “What?! You’re not even from my hood and you’re speaking my language! You’re not even from my country and you’re speaking my language. You’re not even from my language and you’re speaking my language! Why? Tongues of fire. They were communicating the gospel. They were communicating the gospel. When they spoke in tongues they were speaking in languages the others could understand and the gospel, the tongue, was being communicated.
So low pressure, high pressure, energy, it’s transferred to wind. Then you have this wave that is crashing and you’ve got the church. Somebody clap. You’ve got the break, you’ve got the reef, you’ve got the beach. The only place, the only place, the only place, the only place where you’re ever gonna catch a giant wave is in the church. That’s it! The church! It’s not in some non-profit. It’s not in some school. It’s not in some Christian school. No, I mean that’s great. The church. The gates of Hell will not prevail against the church! The church.
Waves come in sets. I said it earlier, I set you up. Seven basically. God has put this rhythm in all of our lives, right? We’re to work and then to stop working and start worshipping. You will never, ever, ever, I don’t care how many billions you make, how many deals you do, how many touchdowns you score, you will never, I will never discover what it means to have momentum and real inertia in my life until I simply go to church. Just go to church. Go to church. You go to church, every week stop working and start worshiping, I’m telling you, you will be far ahead of the game. You’ll see where God is working. And let me just brag on you guys.
Let me put it this way. If I knew of a church doing more than Fellowship I would resign as pastor and pastor that church. I’ll say it again. If I knew of a church in America doing more in the world than Fellowship Church I would resign this church and try to hook up with that church. And I know about more churches than anybody here, anybody listening to me. So, you have an opportunity and so do I to be hooked up, to be surfing waves like few churches I’ve ever heard about in my life.
Are you surfing? Are you riding a wave, single mom? Are you allowing your kids to ride waves? One of the best messages we’ve ever had delivered here happened last weekend. If you missed it, if you missed it, parents, you bust your butt to get home, log onto www.fellowshipchurch.com and you watch Mike Johnson’s message. You better watch it and send it to your friends.
Married couples, go to church. It has the right topography, the right waves, the right beach for giant waves. Students, go to church. Children, go to church. Invite your parents to church. Invite other people to church. Dallas/Fort Worth, we’re not a churched area. Are you kidding me? Churched unchurched. We got just enough of the virus not to catch the real disease. Same way in Columbia, South Carolina. That’s the belt buckle of the Bible belt as well. Now Miami, no. London, no. People there are clueless. They really are. Totally clueless. They don’t know up from down about God, the Bible, church, most of them.
So as you look at your life, as you think about the summer, have you allowed this weather event to take place in your life? Have you said, “God, I’m low. I’m a sinner. I NEED you God.” The low needs to connect and collide – boom! – with the high. You need to know Jesus personally and then he will place the person of the Holy Spirit inside of your life. He will comfort you, he will convict you, he will lead you, he will guide you. You need the wind of the Holy Spirit whispering to you, teaching you, and revealing to you things of Scripture. We’re made to ride the waves that are breaking at the church.
Illus: Sometimes the Holy Spirit, when the settings are right, I can’t explain it all, really moves in non-believers’ lives. A couple of days ago I was in a grocery store and I saw a friend of mine, who I’ve known for the last several years. Totally far away from God. And I recognized him because he has these wide shoulders. He used to play college football and he has the coolest tattoo on his left calf. I’ve never seen one like it. And I called his name and I kinda elbowed him from the back, not too hard because I didn’t want him to turn around and, you know, crush me. He goes,
“What’s up, Ed!” I go,
“Man, how you doing?” We started talking back and forth a little bit. And then he talked about a friend of ours, he was just kinda joking about him, and our friend is named Carlos. And he said,
“Ed, can you believe that God <bleep> Carlos? Can you believe what he’s doing and what he did and blah-blah-blah!” And I go,
“No man, I can’t.” I got back home. I was getting ready to go to bed and I took out my iPhone and just turned it on, you know, put in my little code. Hmm… looking… I want to read this to you. This guy texted it to me:
“Hey Ed. (this is the guy I just met in the grocery store) It’s _______ (and he gave me his name). Sorry about the “Goddamn Carlos” comment. I want you to know I respect you and the work you’re doing. I’m just a gosh-danged dumbo sometimes. See you around. Catch you tomorrow.”
I thought, this Hell-raiser, this skirt-chaser, this far-away-from-God type has no idea that that was the Holy Spirit. He has no idea because of God’s grace, because I’m a high pressure guy, not because I’m great but because of God, right? I’ve somehow come in contact with him – BOOM! – at the right time, the energy, the power of the Holy Spirit is transferred, the wind of the Holy Spirit is convicting him. He’s not at step 3 yet but I think it’ll happen.
So friends, we’ve got to understand the anatomy of the wave before we talk about surfing. I mean, I wanted to jump in and talk about all the subtle nuances of surfing and show you some really cool video we have in the next several weeks but no, no, no. I want to talk to you about this.
The book of Hebrews says this. The book of Hebrews says, the writer (who I believe was the apostle Paul), he says, “Have you become dull in your hearing?” and I looked at the word dull. Not to go over your heads but let me just do it for a second. In the original language, you know what it means? Ear wax. The apostle Paul is saying man, you’ve got ear wax in your ear! You’ve gotta listen! What’s listening? Hearing and doing. Don’t just hear me! Listen!!! Get the sin, get the ear wax out of your ear and listen!
Now and then people ask me, “What do you do right before you walk on the stage?” Well, this is rough footage and this is the real deal. Here’s what happens.
Ed: It’s right before the service, I have horrendous ear wax problems. Dr. Perkins is gonna blow this ear wax out of my ear. It’s huge. I know, it’s terrible. It’s gonna be really gross. If you’re squeamish… <sucking sound>
Dr. Perkins: Round 1, not there yet.
Dr. Perkins: There it went.
Ed: Plop. EEeeeewww!!! <laughing> What is that?
Dr. Perkins: That’s the ear wax.
Ed: Oh!!! Randy that is incredible! It’s like a rock. Well that’s it. When you have your ears irrigated you always get a little bit dizzy and I’m just thankful now I can hear. Because my hearing was totally blocked and my balance was off so it’s important to have clean ear canals, isn’t it?
Dr. Perkins: Absolutely, no doubt about it.
Dr. Perkins: Let me look one more time, Ed.
Ed: How is it, doctor?
Dr. Perkins: You are clean!
Ed: Amen! All right. Keep those ear canals clear and clean.
I know that was gross but sin is gross. Not listening is gross. We’ve got a weather event. We’ve got the wind and we’ve got the waves. Join us as we ride giants. Are you ready? I’m ready to ride some giants! And we’ve got some giants this summer!
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]