“Sam I Am : From Rejection to Perfection”
September 8, 2019 | By Ed Young
Well, good morning this morning! How is everyone doing? How is everyone doing? That’s what I thought. That’s what I thought. You know, this is definitely a two-way conversation, so you’ve got to help me out as I talk about today’s subject. Wow. Football season is in the air. OK, OK. All right.
Today I’m gonna do something that is gonna seem a little bit countercultural, sort of weird, sort of strange. Because you know, at Fellowship Church if you come here very much, we always teach the Bible, we believe the Bible. We even believe the maps. We’re under the authority of God’s word and we teach it in an uncompromising fashion.
I’m going to tell you how to thrive in something that will seem countercultural. In other words, normally when I talk about a subject I’ll say, OK. Here’s how to have victory over insecurity. Or here is how to walk in Godfidence.
Well, today I thought, I’m gonna do something different. I want to talk about how to live in insecurity. I thought about how do you live? How do you really increase your fear of rejection? Because there’s someone we’re gonna talk about who lived in that fear, so I thought, let’s learn from it. I don’t know about you, but I deal with insecurity. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like rejection, but I’ve been rejected. Think about all those times you’ve been rejected in your life. Maybe it’s a sports thing, the quintessential “I was cut from the football team,” or “didn’t make the cheerleading squad.” Or maybe you got cut from your job. You got rejected. Or you tried to get into this group or that group and they just said, sorry. Sort of shunned you. Maybe you felt like it was a financial thing, a racial thing, a behavioral thing, I don’t know. But we have all been rejected. So often, I don’t want to face the future because of my past. I don’t want to feel the feelings in the future like I’ve felt in the past regarding rejection. I don’t want to feel tomorrow like I felt yesterday. Rejection. How do we live in the fear of rejection?
I’m gonna speak in Millennialese today. Any Millennials here? You’re a Millennial. Don’t be shy! Yeah, yeah. Millennials have come up with some really cool phrases, so I thought why not speak Millennialism, you know? Or Millennialese, or however you want to say it. I like Millennialese or that’s a Millennialism. Both sound good. Very creative phrase, I think memorable phrases that we’re not gonna forget, because this will help us increase – as I said – our fear of rejection.
I’ve been in a series of Samuel. Samuel is an Old Testament guy, a difference-maker, a leader, a standup guy. I’m calling this series Sam-I-am. Why Sam I Am? Well, yeah, Dr. Seuss. You might have read “Green Eggs and Ham.” I’m calling it Sam I Am because Samuel had a great connection, a great relationship with the Great I Am, one of the names of God. And that’s the goal of this series, to learn from him, to see how he dealt with different scenarios, different people, different situations. Today he’s gonna meet Saul. That’s right, Saul. Ladies, Saul was handsome. This guy would have been a cover model for a romance novel: 6’6”, research him, long, black hair, a booming voice. He just had that “it” factor. Came from a lot of wealth and he was like, legit. You know what I’m saying to you? Yeah. Saul. Saul met Samuel in sort of a weird way. You might say, “Oh, it was serendipitous. Oh, it was just luck.” No, no, no, no. How often do we have divine appointments through the sovereignty of God, and we don’t even realize it? I love this.
Saul had lost some of his father’s donkeys. Now, you might think, well, what does that matter? Well, back in the Middle East, donkeys were like F250 pickups. Seriously. And if you lost three or four F250 pickups, you would go looking for them, wouldn’t you? So, Saul is out there looking for the donkeys. This is what’s so funny about him. The guy was like, in a daze. I don’t know, I’m not sure if he had all the line on his reel. I’m not sure if, you know, I don’t know what happened. That was kind of a fishing joke, like all the line on his reel, a little slow. He had never heard of Samuel. Here is Samuel, from the same area, Samuel was trending. I mean he was like; everyone knew Samuel. And Saul is like, “Samuel? Who is that?” They meet because Saul is looking for donkeys and they have this intense conversation. Samuel says,
“You know, Saul, you’re gonna be the next president of Israel.” Whoa. Now we’re gonna understand about insecurity. We’re gonna understand about the fear of rejection. As you read about God’s people, you’ve got the perfect will of God, and the permissive will of God. God didn’t want his people to have an earthly king. I mean, God wanted, he wanted them to understand that he was the king. Yet they were like, oh man! The neighboring nations, they have a king! We want a king! Mom, dad, they get to stay out until 1am! Mom and dad, they’ve got a brand-new Ferrari when they were 15! You know? Adults, we’re the same. Why do they get to travel there? Why do they live there? We’re the same. We’re the same. So, God’s people, “God, we want a king.”
So, here’s what God does. It’s not his perfect will. I mean, for example, God’s perfect will is for all of us to repent and to know Jesus Christ personally. That’s his perfect will. Yet, his permissive will, within that, we have a freedom of choice and we can choose to do things our own way. Oftentimes the discipline of God is giving us what we want. You know, I want money, God! I hear you, but I want more and more money! Sometimes God’s discipline is just piling money all over you. Some are like, I’d like that discipline! Others are like, you know, I just want to have sex with anybody, anytime, I mean no strings attached. God will say, you know what? Go for it. Many times, when we get what we want, we don’t want what we got. So, God can and does discipline us by going, OK, OK. He did the same thing with his people. You want a king? You really want an earthly king? OK, I’ll have Samuel to tap on the shoulder while Saul is looking for donkeys. Basically, Samuel said it’s on like Donkey Kong. I just made that phrase up. Have you ever heard that before? I just made it up, man.
Well, here’s the first way to live in insecurity. Are you ready? Just nod your head. If you’re ready, knock on plastic in front of you. Those are plastic seats in front of you. Knock on them. Are you ready? Are you ready? All right.
#1 – Make sure you are spitting mist. You’re saying, Ed, what are you talking about? Spitting mist means you talk negatively about yourself. That’s a Millennialism, or I’m speaking Millennialese. You’re spitting mist. So, kind of do this. Don’t spit but just kind of <spitting sound effect>. Do you ever talk bad about yourself? Have you ever just stopped yourself and you’re like, what am I saying about myself? I can’t believe I’m saying that! I sometimes talk bad about myself. Saul was talking bad about himself. We know he was. Here, Samuel is going, “Saul, you’re the man!” and check out. It sounds like humility at first. This is really kind of a humble brag but just stay with me. [1 Samuel 9:21 (NLT)] “Saul replied (and Saul is talking to Samuel).” Now, I’m not gonna spell today because the last time I spelled, Lisa told me, “Honey, you misspelled every single word.” That’s OK. I can draw a little bit, so I’m gonna draw. I’m gonna stick to drawing because I can draw OK. I can’t spell, all right. If you’re with me, knock on plastic. OK, here we go.
“Saul replied, ‘But I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel.’” I kind of felt sorry for him when I read this at first. “ ‘and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe.’” And this is the phrase that pays here. “‘Why are you talking to me like this?’” Come on. Here’s what, again, I can’t believe. I cannot believe that Saul didn’t recognize and know Samuel. I know I said it earlier but that would be like not recognizing LeBron. Or not recognizing President Obama. I mean, what? They’re like popular? Everyone knows them and I don’t know, it might kind of give us some insight into Saul’s persona. Because so often, as we read and many times in the Bible, just these little things, we think, oh, they’re just insignificant. I mean, Saul had just a little lying problem. Saul just kind of humble bragged now and then. No big deal. Well, as we keep reading and as we continue in this series, those little things start out small…
Ladies, you’re dating someone: Yeah, he’s so great. Now and then he exaggerates and tells little white lies… He just has a little drinking problem… Those little things, deal with them! Parents: Yeah, she just kind of has a mouth on her, you know how she is. She yells back all the time. Because we’re gonna see this in the life of Saul. Little things that grew into big things.
So, obviously Saul is talking bad about himself and he’s just negative and as you keep reading about him, he kind of leaves things out now and then of the account. If you fast-forward it, one time he was – this is gonna play out in a couple of weeks – but he was fighting a battle at Mikmash. Have you ever been up to your eyeballs in Mikmash before? And he just left some things out that were pretty major, you know. It really cost him, and it ended up costing him the throne. But what are you saying to yourself? What if we could hear the conversations we’re having with ourselves. I mean, what if we could those conversations?
(AUDIO RECORDING: Ed’s Thoughts)
I sure hope this message is connecting today. It’s very tough to communicate something from the Old Testament. You have to study so much. I don’t know, I just, I’m worrying about that. What would people do if they knew that I struggled with the fear of rejection a lot? Wow, football season started today. I’m glad someone showed up. I was kind of worried. Is that guy on the 5th row asleep? Oh man, he’s probably bored. I like this jacket I have on today, but the pocket square is sort of wild. I don’t really like it, but Lisa does. I wonder what people would really think if they knew that I had hair transplants and that I wear makeup on stage, because of the lights. I’m just nervous today because I don’t want to be rejected.
What do you say about yourself? We need to say and know the word. We need to know what God says about us. We’re forgivable. We’re capable. We’re lovable. And God wants us to present ourselves as useable. God wanted to use Saul’s strengths and weaknesses and time after time we have just enough weaknesses to lean into him so we can look back and go, oh! It’s definitely you, God! It’s definitely you! Because when we give everything to him, that is when he uses us. It’s about surrender.
OK, here’s another way, because we’ve gotta fly now. Another way – I almost went positive there – another way to walk in the fear of rejection is engage in ear hustling. It’s another Millennial urban phrase. Do like this. Ear hustling. That means you listen and read conversations that you shouldn’t even listen to or read about, and you want to pick up stuff about yourself. What the haters are saying. Oh, and you follow it down and you chase it down, and you roll it around and you barbeque it and you baste it and you broil it. Oh yeah! Oh yeah! Because we’re all gonna have haters.
I run through our neighborhood. I enjoy that. I mean, after it’s over, you know. I run about this fast now. And I’ve noticed this, because I’ve run for decades. When you run around any neighborhood, what do you hear? <barking sound effect> Dogs. It’s almost like they’re in every yard behind fences, barking.
I was in El Paso last Sunday at a great, great church, speaking at a conference, and the pastor, who will be our guest at our C3 Global International Conference right here. He said,
“Ed, do you know why dogs bark when you’re running?” and I said,
“Well, no.” He said,
“They bark because they’re confined to the yard, but you’re going somewhere.” I said,
“Say that again.” He said,
“Those dogs are confined to their yard, but you’re going somewhere.”
Students, those haters <barking sound effect>… dogs. That person at the gym <barking>, around the neighborhood <barking>, they’re dogs. Don’t overreact.
I was thinking about all the times I’ve run in neighborhoods. And here’s where I messed up. I’ve stopped before because I like dogs, looked, and one time I walked over to this bulldog. And I’m thinking, bulldogs don’t bite! There’s no way this dog is gonna bite. And I did something very Saul-istic. I stuck my hand through the fence <barking!> AAAAHHH! Don’t mess around with the dogs. Don’t chase the dogs.
Read about Saul. At certain times he had the right THEY in his life, but he listened too much to the wrong THEY. Who are you listening to? If you listen or I listen to the wrong people, I’ll walk in fear, the fear of rejection. And so, will you. I’ll walk in insecurity. My security has to be found in Jesus. <rewind sound effect> in Jesus. <rewind sound effect> in Jesus. <rewind sound effect> in Jesus. Then, I surround myself with the right people and THEY give me, not the primary props. The primary props come from Jesus. The secondary props, that’s why we love community here. That’s why we’re called Fellowship here. That’s why I encourage you to join a small group here. That’s why when I felt rejected, as I have in many ways over the last 29 years, I’ve leaned into these relationships right here at Fellowship. Engage in ear hustling. See, I got ahead of technology, didn’t I? Let’s see what else we have.
[1 Samuel 10:21-22 (NLT)]
“Saul, son of Kish, was chosen from among them.” You know what this is, don’t you? Check this out. “But when they looked for him, he disappeared.” Oh, I know what this is. I almost left it out. There was a massive press (I’m not gonna try and spell conference, I’ll just put C), there was a massive press C where Samuel stood before the people and he goes,
“Now, introducing from the tribe of Benjamin, he stands 6’6” tall, he weighs 225 pounds. He’s a romance novel cover and a Hallmark channel actor waiting to happen. Let’s put our hands together for Kiiiiinnnngggg Saullllllll!”
I mean, there are no crickets. Saul was nowhere to be found. What? Where’s Saul? He disappeared. So, they flew some drones out. No, that’s just the omnipresence of God. So, they asked the Lord, where is he? And the Lord said, “He’s hiding (come on, now!) in the baggage.” You’ve got baggage. I’ve got baggage. Saul had baggage. And in the original language, it’s stuff and you also could say baskets. He’s the first basket case ever recorded in the Bible. Because he was insecure. He’s nowhere to be found. Well, Ed, you’re making a lot out of this, my brother. I mean, come on. I mean, he’s scared, squillions of people out there, the cameras rolling. He, I mean, I understand the guy was humble.
I’m telling you, he had it together.
Think about when David years later makes his way to the front lines and everyone in the Israelite camp knew that Saul was the guy who was supposed to fight Goliath. What was Saul doing? Hiding. Hiding from his responsibilities. Hiding. It started out small but look at the fall. Well, it keeps going.
Now, after the press conference, [1 Samuel 10:26-27 (NLT)] “When Saul returned, a group of men whose hearts got in touch went with him. But there were some – what? We don’t use that phrase anymore. You scoundrel. Millennials, why don’t you adopt that? Hey man, he’s just going scoundrel. I like that. We made that up right here. “Some scoundrels complained, ‘How can this man save us?’ and they scorned him.” Refused him, to bring him and show him the love, but Saul ignored him. Now really. No. Read about him in other battles. Always listening. He had these rabbit ears. Oh man, what did you say? What did you mean by that? I struggle with insecurity and the fear of rejection. That’s why the best thing on Instagram is this feature called Mute. Have you seen this? Do you use it? I use it all the time. You don’t Unfollow someone, because that can cause drama. You mute them. I’ve muted, I don’t know how many people. I don’t throw the number out. It’s changed my life. Mute them. I only follow just a few now, because everyone else has been muted out of my life. Students, adults, it will change your life. Mute people.
When I went to school back in the day, you would go to junior high, high school, whatever. Peer pressure, I love peer pressure. You know, people peering. And you know, oh, I want to get in that group! Or, maybe not this group or that group. But then once you made it to your home… aaaaahhh!! No more drama anymore! No more peer pressure. It’s all good, man! I’m at home! I’m talking about back in the day. I can just relax and be myself. Oh, now we can’t. Are you kidding me? It’s like we’re at school, we’re at home, mealtime, jogging around the neighborhood, getting ready to go to bed. It’ll mess you up! It’s messed me up, that’s why I mute.
Students listen to me. You should mute people regularly. Just mute them, man! Mute them! Adults, I mean, we deal now with as much peer pressure as the kids! Oh man, they get to travel there! Must be nice. I’m a loser. They drive, they got a new car. Are you… how in the world did that happen? What? Oh man, I’m nothing. I love social media. I’m not hating on it. It has its place. However, it can mess us up because we’ll begin to compare, and contrast and we will begin to look at the other person and take our eyes off of Jesus. And what I’ll do, is I’ll start trying to run in someone else’s lane and saying, wow! They’re more blessed than I am. I want their blessings! No, no, I don’t. No, no, you don’t. That’s a lie from the enemy.
Saul dealt with this and it really was one of the things that ruined him later on, we’ll see. But again, if you want to walk in fear, fear of rejection, just engage in ear hustling. Always chase down the negativity and the stuff. Hey, the people that are negative about you, they don’t know you. Those people didn’t know Saul. They don’t know you. Sometimes people will text me something negative or comment on something negative. I don’t even read the stuff. They’ll go,
“Oh man, someone’s saying something bad about you.” Well, they don’t know me. I mean, you can take a picture of me now, but this is not me. To understand me, you’ve got to go all the way back to Irwin, North Carolina, a little mill town. From there to Canton, North Carolina. Then from there, Taylor, South Carolina. Big cities. Then from there, Columbia, South Carolina. Then from there, Houston, Texas. Then from there, Florida State University in Tallahassee. Then from there, Houston, Texas. Then from there, going to seminary full time and working full time. Then from there, we drive up to Fellowship Church, one car, one kid, rent house. Our offerings were maybe $1,000 a week. So, you want to know me? You really do? That’s my life. So, what you see now, I mean, God has blessed me. No question about it. God has blessed you. But what am I doing listening to someone who doesn’t even know me? And they’re the same in your life. They don’t know you. Don’t overreact. I have before, it’s not worth it.
“Yeah, but if I sat down and talked to them, they would understand!” No, they wouldn’t. <barking> Let me see if there’s one more. I could do about 20 of them. Oh yeah, this is another. I love this phrase.
The third way to walk in the fear of rejection – this is awesome here, I love this – speak in third person theatrics. I’d never heard that phrase before, maybe some Millennials have. Third person theatrics would be speaking in the third person and just really bragging, really putting yourself out there. Self-promotion. What I am afraid is that we so promote ourselves, we don’t even know we’re promoting ourselves. It’s like what my brother says. Whenever you see someone take a picture of someone famous with them, that means they don’t know that person. You didn’t laugh because it was so convicting. I understand. I’m the same way. It convicted me, too. You know, I mean, when Ric Flair and The Undertaker were here, I had my picture taken with them. I don’t know them! But I’m like, Ed, why are you doing this? I know someone who is important. I know someone who’s popular. I spent 10 minutes with The Undertaker.
And then, think about it, we post this stuff like a picture of our physique, guys. <laughter> Seriously? Don’t even try to tell me you’re trying to advertise some gym or some new workout. What are you smoking? Here’s my favorite. The ladies will all get all beauty’d up, you know. Take the picture. And all the comments: Oh, you look gorgeous! You’re so awesome! What do you think they’re gonna say? That dress makes you look fat. We’re that insecure? We are, aren’t we? We have to put our image out there because we have to have those compliments. It’s funny. We’re so funny. We’re so insecure. And I know all of us have a level of insecurity because of our depravity. I’m just talking about how to accentuate your insecurity. Speak in third person.
Well, what happened to Saul? Saul’s son, let’s look. 1 Samuel 13, let me just fly through this here. Let me see, speak in third person. OK, here we go. 1 Samuel 13:3-4, “Jonathan (the J-man, that’s Saul’s son) attacked (the Philistine machine) the outpost, at Giba (or Geba), and the Philistines heard about it.” Uh oh. “Then Saul had the trumpet blown (you talking about tooting your own horn) and said throughout the land, ‘Let the Hebrews hear.’ So, all Israel heard the news.” Saul, Saul you weren’t even there! “Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost and now Israel has become obnoxious to the Philistines.” I’m the man. I’ve got to have credit. I’ve got to be the person. You’ve got to show me the love and the gifts and the applause. It’s me. It’s me, yeah, me. I’ll post this and it’s me and my and I. And pride is so seductive we don’t even know we’re prideful when we’re being prideful.
I could go on and on. That’s next week. Next week we’re gonna have fun with some stickers. That’s all I’ll say. It’s gonna be fun. I think you’ll enjoy it. But we continue. Hey, hasn’t this series been fun? I mean, I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned so much. But I’ve got to tell you this one story about pride. I love this story. It’s kind of a goofy one but I like it, so would you give me about one minute to tell you the story? If you want to give me one minute, knock on plastic. OK, thank you.
There was this frog who lived in a little pond and this frog made friends with these ducks. And the frog was like, “All you ducks are always quacking about flying south and all these cool places.” And the frog was like, “Would you mind helping me fly south?” And the ducks were like, OK, OK. So, the frog goes – this frog had a real high IQ – he goes, “Here’s a reed. When it gets cold, I want one of you ducks to grab one end of the reed, the other end and I’ll just latch onto the middle, and you can fly me south. These ducks are like,
“Yeah! We’ll do that!” So, it started getting cold and that’s what happened. They took off… <quacking and flying sound effect> and here’s the frog. And he’s looking around. He’s thinking, this is so beautiful up here! He’s thinking about man, I’m so smart! I’m so intelligent! Then they flew over a field and a farmer was in the field, and the farmer goes,
“Look at that! Ducks flying and a frog hanging onto the reed in the middle! I wonder who thought of that!” The frog couldn’t stand it, so he opened his mouth…
“I di-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-d…” splat.
Don’t be a frog. That’s what Saul was. So, how do I become insecure? I’ve got to make sure I’m spitting mist. I’ve got to engage in ear hustling. I’ve got to speak in third person theatrics. But what we’re gonna find out is the way to live for the Lord, talk to God regularly about who you are. Ask him. Get to know his infallible word and what it says about you and what it says about me.
#2 – Listen to the right people. I don’t care if you’re 52, 22, or 12. That’s the beauty of the church. It’s not a solo sport.
#3 – Encourage one another. Encourage. When you think it, say it! Don’t go, “Well, I know he knows that.” “I know my wife understands…” No, no, no. Say it.
Jesus was rejected on a level that we can’t even comprehend. He was rejected by his nation, by his family, by his friends. While he was dying on the cross for your sins and mine, the Bible says God the Father had to reject him because he couldn’t even look at sin. Jesus rose again and through this rejection, we can have perfection. We can place our faith, our trust, on the person of Jesus. And that is when we will know the great I Am, and that’s when we will walk in Godfidence. Would you pray with me?
[Ed leads closing prayer.]