January 29-30, 2011
There’s nothing like a Rolls Royce. Even if you only drive it a couple feet, there’s nothing like a Rolls Royce. Isn’t that beautiful? Am I the only one? Whenever I see a Rolls, I normally will try to steal a glance and look very, very carefully to see if I can identify who is driving the Rolls. Am I the only one? If I’m with Lisa I’m like, “Lisa, who’s in that car?” We think maybe a celebrity, an athlete, an actor or actress, some mogul.
A Rolls Royce. The thing about the Rolls that is intriguing to me is that Rolls Royce, they really don’t spend a lot of money advertising. You know, a Rolls is a Rolls. It pretty much speaks for itself. It’s a Rolls Royce. That’s the car, the dream car of so, so many.
I read a couple of days ago where one of the top Rolls Royces of 2010 had a recall. Are you ready for that? They had a recall notification because one of the parts of the Rolls was defective. And that happens a lot in the car business, even with high-end cars like this.
Recalls. Something’s not working right and if someone receives a recall notification, what do you do? You take it back to the dealership, you get the part fixed, the defective part taken care of, and then you’re on your merry way. You’d be crazy, I mean you wouldn’t be that intelligent if you drove with a defective part. Because you could injure yourself and also you could injure others.
T.S. Today as I start this series on relationships and passion and marriage, I want to talk to you about some defective dating habits that a lot of people have. I want to give you a recall notification, so to speak, because scores of us are defective daters. We make these ridiculous decisions about the person ultimately we’re gonna marry.
Think about this. Dating is about marriage. Marriage is about dating. Dating is what you do and don’t do before you say “I do,” and that greatly impacts what you do and don’t do after you say “I do.” This series is for every single person.
You might be going, “Ed, I’ve been married for 28 years. I’ve been doing this whole relationship thing for a long, long time. This is for me?” Yes.
Hey parents, one of your top responsibilities is to teach and train your kids to do what? To become experts at spouse selection. Furthermore, those here, junior high students, high school students, single adults, those here who are just coming off of a divorce, those here in the throes of a toxic relationship, this series is tailor-made for you. Because in the maze of all of the websites and the glassy-eyed relational gurus and amidst all the articles in GQ or Cosmopolitan or Glamour, the Bible comes out and the Bible keeps it real. I mean, real specific and prolific and detailed, yet profound. It’s time that we do it God’s way. Because God wants us to hook up with the right person.
However, it does not take a relational rocket scientist to figure out that things are not working very well. What is it? Fifty percent, half, of all marriages end up as relational wreckage. Half of all first-time marriage. Sixty-seven percent of second-time marriages need to be carried off to the heap. Seventy-four percent of third-time marriages are wheels-off. They’re hydroplaning. They don’t work. So we’re not doing this spouse selection thing right.
I mean, we’re not doing this dating thing right. There are some mess-ups, some mistakes, some blunders, some defective dating going on.
So today I want to kind of get up in your grill. I want to allow God’s word to come into our lives. Because I’ve got some great news. All of us, do you hear me? All of us are a Rolls Royce. You might think you’re a 1967 Delta 88? No, no, no. You’re a Rolls! You’re a Rolls Royce! Isn’t that great? Because you’re made in the image of God. You want to talk about the awesome assembly line the Bible says you were formed by God himself. And God knows your name, he gifted you while in your mother’s womb. I mean it’s that kind of technology, that kind of craftsmanship. So you’re a Rolls. So look to your left and right and say, “Hey, you’re a Rolls.” It’s good! It’s freeing!
However, I would argue that a lot of us are not using the Rolls as it’s supposed to be used. By virtue of the stats I just gave you, by virtue of the wheels-off relationship, the relationships that are hydroplaning, the relationships that are in the junkyard, the relationships that are wreckage, we’re not doing it right. Here we are, we’re a Rolls; but we’re not doing it right. So let’s start from the beginning and let’s talk about some defective dating habits. Some dumb habits that a lot of us are involved in.
Maybe you’re talking to someone right now, maybe you’re dating someone right now. Maybe someone has caught your eye. Maybe, just maybe, you’re a parent and you have a little one. Maybe you’re a grandparent, an uncle, an aunt, this is all for you.
RPM: Relationships, passion, and marriage. God invented it all. Let’s hear what God says about it.
The first defective dating habit, the first one. What did I say earlier? You see a Rolls, what do you do? You wonder who’s driving it. Defective daters fail to look behind the wheel. They fail to look behind the wheel. What am I saying? I’m saying that if you are driving your Rolls, you’re ill-equipped to drive it. You’re not gifted to drive it. You’re not gifted to take this car where it needs to go.
Defective daters they look at everything else, but they don’t look and see who’s driving the car. Who’s driving the car of your life? Who’s driving the car of the person’s life maybe that you’re married to or that you’re dating. I will read to you the most unpopular scripture verse in the world to people who are dating. (Man these keys are so heavy they weight about two pounds! Look at these keys!).
2 Corinthians 6:14 – “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.” Now for years I thought that was talking about eggs. It’s not. “For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common, or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
Defective daters fail to see who’s driving the car. God comes along and God says, “I only want you to talk, to date, to hook up, to connect, to ultimately marry, I only want you to marry those who are followers of Christ.” In other words, if you’re a wise dater, you’re going to look and you’re going to see who is driving the car.
Because someone who is a follower of Christ has given the keys to Jesus. They have opened the door. “Jesus, you come in, you drive.” They shut the door and they’ve gone shotgun and they sat in the passenger seat. Now, it doesn’t mean that we don’t work or we’re not involved in the process but it means that Jesus ultimately is calling the shots.
Have you had the talk with the person that you are attracted to? Have you? Do they have a story? You’ve got to go for the ask. “Are you a Christ-follower? Are you a follower of Christ?” Even if you have to ask the question there’s probably some doubt in your mind. If you have to ask the question there’s a good chance the person is not. Because remember, Rolls Royce doesn’t have to advertise.
But let’s just say you ask the question. Let me pick on the ladies for a second. Let’s say you ask this guy the question. “Have you transferred the keys to Christ?” Here’s what they’ll say to you: “Baby, I’ve always been a Christian.”
That’s impossible. I understand that people are born in Christian homes. I was, too. However, it’s a personal decision that you have to make. There has to be a time, the Bible says, of your salvation. A time where you gave the keys to Jesus and opened the door and said, “Jesus, I do a terrible time of driving myself. I’ve gotten in wrecks and I’ve bounced off of this guardrail and I’ve been hydroplaning and I can’t do it. I’m not equipped to do it. Here are the keys. You drive.”
I’ve always been a Christian. (‘Fail!’ sound effect)
Here’s another one: “I believe in God. Hey, I believe in God!”
The Bible says the devil and all the demons believe in God, so much they shake. That’s more than a lot of Christians I know do.
“When I was 12 I was confirmed.”
I’m happy you were confirmed. That’s great! You went through this class and all that. Have you, though, given the keys of your life to Jesus? Is he driving?
Here’s another answer that guys will give you, ladies: “I’m a spiritual person. I’m just spiritual.”
Really? Everybody is spiritual. Everything is spiritual. OK.
Here’s another one: “I attend Fellowship.”
Wow. It’s like me saying I walked into a Rolls Royce dealership then I guess I’m a Rolls. That makes me a Rolls. No, no, no, no. Ladies, guys will even wear a clerical collar. They’ll do anything. Bark like a dog, do the Jericho March, stand up and holler, preach sermons just to be with you! So remember, do they have a story?
Not only is the story important, how about the book of Galatians. Galatians 5:22-23. Do they produce fruit? Where’s the fruit? Nine pieces of fruit that a true Christ-follower is going to produce.
“But the fruit of the spirit is love…” That’s the first one. Do they love God and others?
“… joy,” That’s the inner tranquility of the soul. We need some outrageous and contagious joy. (I thought I’d plug my book. See I have a book, Outrageous, Contagious Joy. Pick it up here or at Barnes and Noble. Thank you.)
“… peace,” I don’t mean an absence of conflict. Do they have the ministry of reconciliation? In other words, when there is a relational sticking point, a problem, do they initiate and make the relationship right?
So you’ve got love, joy, peace. Number 4: “… patience,” Are they patient?
Number 5: “…kindness,” Do they have the kindness of the Lord?
How about “… goodness,” That’s morality. That’s purity.
“…faithfulness,” Commitment. Have they pledged themselves to a position no matter what the cost?
“… gentleness and self-control.” I like self-control. That’s delayed gratification. They understand that God says to do it, but don’t do it until you say, “I do.” If this person will hop in the sack with you prior to marriage, what makes you think they’re not gonna hop in the sack with someone else once you get married? If they can’t control this desire prior to saying, “I do,” what makes you think they’re gonna control it after they say, “I do.”?
Love-1, joy-2, peace-3, patience-4, kindness-5, goodness-6, faithfulness-7, gentleness-8 and self-control-9.
I’m all for E-harmony and Match.com and I know that 1 in 6 marriages meet online and all of that is incredible. Rah-rah-rah. Awesome-awesome-awesome. But this is the skinny on the gimme. This is the 411 before we have to call 911. This is it! This is what it’s all about! Because God is the one who invented it all.
But there’s something else. OK, yeah you got a story. You better check the fruit. Do a fruit inspection. But watch this. Anybody who is a true follower of Christ, anybody who has a story and who exhibits fruit is an umbrella fella. I’m talking about authority issues.
I would argue and submit to you that authority issues have got to be one of the major causes of divorce. You never hear it talked about. Dr. Phil ain’t gonna talk about it. Oprah ain’t gonna talk about it. You’re not gonna read about it in one of your magazines or self-help books, and it’s not gonna be on one of the famous websites. Authority issues.
What am I talking about? God’s a God of authority. So if we get under those things God has put over us, God will put us over us that we should have under us. Beneath us. And most people never get to that point. So I’ve got to get under what’s over me so I can get over what’s under me.
Guys, men. God has given you the leadership in the relationship. Did you hear me? Men and women are equal, there’s no doubt about that. I would probably argue that women are superior. However, guys, we have been given the responsibility. We’re the ones that should carry the umbrella. And the lady fits just right there with us. We’re about leading and protection and nurturing and being men.
Ladies, as you look at this guy, is he under the authority of God, or does he always have these authority issues? “Well, my boss… my mom… my dad… that person..”
How does he act in a restaurant? How does he act with people that God has placed over him in his life? How ridiculous do I look if it’s raining outside and I’m like this (holding the umbrella at arm’s length)? I’m being pelted by problems, hammered by hell, drenched in dysfunction. “Ed, get under the umbrella!” I’ve gotta get under the umbrella. I’ve gotta be an umbrella fella.
Ladies, this guy that you’re talking to, that you’re dating, the guy you’re married to… Husbands here, are you an umbrella fella? If you want to go up, get under. Authority issues!
Now, a lot of guys freak about this. They just freak out and they’ll just drop the umbrella. “It’s too much! It’s too much! It’s too much!”
And they’re commitment-phobic! Well, when a woman sees that umbrella lying there, what does she do? She’ll just pick that thing up! “Girl, I’m gonna lead. I will just lead in this relationship!”
That’s what women will do! And in too many relationships, in too many relationships and in too many marriages, women are running the show! It’s not supposed to be that way! God runs the show. We serve one another. But the leadership responsibility has been bestowed upon the man.
Guys, you better look at the women. Is this girl who’s so hot, is she the princess of the parasol? I’m telling you, it is unbelievable the amount of women that Lisa and I see and deal with and talk to who have these serious authority issues! Get under those things God has placed over you so you can get over the things that God has placed beneath you. Authority issues. I would argue that it’s probably the #1 cause of divorce. I really would but no one’s gonna talk about it. Why? Because they don’t have the 411. Only the Scripture has the 411. Authority.
Here’s something else, another one. Is this person involved in the church? Are they involved in the local body? Are they involved (to stay with the metaphor) in the car dealership? Are they?
Illus: I will never forget a couple of years ago Lisa and I were talking to a friend. This lady was in her mid-40’s and really, really wanted to get married…
“Ed and Lisa, I’ve met this guy. He’s awesome! He’s all that!”
“Really? That’s great! Tell me about him.”
“Well he has this company and he’s over here and there and yonder.”
And we said, “Well is he a believer?”
“Oh yes, he’s a believer!”
“Well where is he involved? What church is he connected with?”
“Um… I think… I’m not really sure.”
“So you’re not sure and you think this guy is all of that? And obviously he’s not serving in the church? That’s a major, MAJOR dashboard warning!”
Make sure you have people who have a heart for the house. That’d be like me going, “Hey, I love surfing but I hate the ocean.” “I love mountain biking but I hate mountain bikes. I hate Colorado. I hate it.” What?
Turn to your neighbor and say, “What?!” It doesn’t make sense, does it? If I love the Lord I’m gonna be committed to his house. I will have a track record and I will be involved.
I know the young man that owns this car. This car only has a few miles on it. This car has a history. Does the person you’re dating have a history? That’s huge. Do they have a story? Where’s the fruit? How about the umbrella? Are they involved in the church?
You might be going, “Hey Ed, I want you to go back to that controversial verse. 2 Corinthians 6:14. Is God being capricious or cruel? Is this spiritual apartheid? God telling me that I should only hook up with believers?”
God’s not being capricious or cruel; God is being strategic and loving. You see the genius of God?
Why would God insist on spiritual compatibility? Now let me stop here for a second. You might be in the back row of our balcony. You might be in one of our environments. You might be watching this by television. You might be in a bar somewhere listening to this. You could be listening to this podcast as you’re working out, or whatever. You might be going, “Ed, I’m the unbeliever! I’m the unbeliever! I’m the guy or the girl, I’m not a follower of Christ!”
Once again, let me say this. This talk is for you, because you can give the keys to Jesus, you can open the door of your Rolls Royce, because you are a Rolls, and let him drive. But you’ll never discover that you’re a Rolls until Jesus drives. Never. So, God is saving us pain and anxiety and trauma and drama by giving us 2 Corinthians 6:14.
Why does he insist on spiritual compatibility? I’m a why-guy, maybe you are too.
Number 1 – God wants us to hit on all cylinders. I can tell just driving that Rolls a few feet, it just feels like a yacht, man! It doesn’t even feel like a car. God wants your relationship to hit on all cylinders. And the only relationship, the only human relationship that’s analogous to God’s relationship with his people is marriage. That’s why this is so important. Because we’re getting into a relationship – marriage – that reflects Christ’s love toward you and me.
So not only does God want us to hit on all cylinders, he also wants us to read the same owner’s manual. Think about it. Lisa and I have been married for 28 years. What if I was reading the owner’s manual of this Rolls Royce Ghost and what if she were reading the owner’s manual of a Ford F250? It wouldn’t work. Can you imagine being married to someone where you could not share on the deepest level? Can you imagine being married to someone where you couldn’t hit on all cylinders emotionally, sexually, and spiritually? Can you imagine reading different owner’s manual?
Here’s another reason why God insists on this compatibility. God wants us to read and look at the same parent map. Again, if you hook up with someone who is not a believer, I don’t care how rich, how hot, how cool, how sexy they are; if you hook up with someone like that, you get married, after you are intimate for a while a lot of people crank out kids. You crank out kids, the challenge is the parental challenge. Are you operating off of the same GPS system?
Because if you’re unequally yoked, here’s what’s gonna happen. You’ll be typing in one destination on your GPS when it revolves around parenting. Your spouse will be typing in another destination on their GPS system, and this person is going that way, that person is going another way, and you’re trying to parent? I can tell you. We have four kids. That ain’t gonna happen.
One of the most incredible things we do as parents is we teach and train our kids to love God and how to find the love of their lives, and then we teach them to leave. Parents stay. Kids leave. We’ve got to present a unified front. I’m talking to single parents, a unified front. “I’ve got your back,” is what we would say.
And if your kids try to play one against the other, which I hear they do now and then, you say, “I’ve got your mom’s back!” “I’ve got your dad’s back!” “Let’s huddle up, let’s talk about it,” and you might have to become a hip-hop star and just say…
I’m the parent, I’m legit.
There’s no use arguing, you might as well quit.
You can roll your eyes and say it’s not fair.
You’re telling God you really don’t care.
So do what I say, all the time,
then your live will have serious rhyme!
On the dime! Yours and mine! Peace of mind!
Alright. I’ve got to put the car in the garage now. I’m having so much fun we’re gonna continue this series. But I’ve got to give you one more. I’ve only talked about one defective dating habit. Defective daters fail to look and see who’s behind the wheel.
Here’s the second one, and I will spend more time on it next time. Defective daters are into the showroom mentality. What’s the showroom mentality? Well you just focus on a few features, but you miss the totality of the car! And all of a sudden you wake up and go, “Wow! I bought this Rolls Royce and I just focused on a few features, and I missed the whole thing!” And next time I’m gonna talk more and more about that.
But this has been a recall notification, a recall in every marriage here, every dating relationship and every dating opportunity here. Do it God’s way! Give him the keys. Let him drive. Open the door of your life. You ride shotgun. Watch him produce that fruit from the inside, out. Get under his authority. Get involved serving in the church. And I’m telling you, God will take our defects and he will perfect them and restore them, and remake them, and we’ll discover what it means to have a Rolls Royce relationship. Are you ready?
We’ve just scratched the surface. I really believe, I really feel this is gonna be one of the most profound series we have ever done. We have been praying so much about it, thinking so much about it. Make sure to invite your friends next time, because life is all about relationships, and let’s do it God’s way.
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]