Sole to Soul: Transcript & Outline



One Simple Step

December 7, 2007

Ed Young

Illus: A couple of days ago I flew 24 hours from Johannesburg, South Africa all the way to Dallas/Fort Worth.  That’s a long flight.  I had something odd happen to me though, on this British Airways flight.  It’s kind of gross.  I’m not a guy that throws up a lot.  I’m just not a guy that barfs all the time.  Do you remember those people in school who would just barf all the time?  You’re sitting there at your desk in the third grade and all of the sudden <vomiting> and the teacher would have to call someone to clean it up.  I was never one of those people.  I just don’t throw up.  I was asking Lisa yesterday, “How many times have I thrown up in our entire marriage?”  She could only count 3.



One Simple Step

December 7, 2007

Ed Young

Illus: A couple of days ago I flew 24 hours from Johannesburg, South Africa all the way to Dallas/Fort Worth.  That’s a long flight.  I had something odd happen to me though, on this British Airways flight.  It’s kind of gross.  I’m not a guy that throws up a lot.  I’m just not a guy that barfs all the time.  Do you remember those people in school who would just barf all the time?  You’re sitting there at your desk in the third grade and all of the sudden <vomiting> and the teacher would have to call someone to clean it up.  I was never one of those people.  I just don’t throw up.  I was asking Lisa yesterday, “How many times have I thrown up in our entire marriage?”  She could only count 3.

I made a stupid mistake in Johannesburg.  I never eat potato salad.  I don’t know why I did it.  This potato salad had been sitting out for a long time.  I thought, I have an iron stomach.  I am going to have some potato salad.  So sure enough, I had some.  And somewhere over the continent of Africa on this British Airways 747 I am trying to sleep and I feel this bubbling in my stomach.  I’m like, “No way!”  I’m thinking to myself, “I’m getting ready to hurl.”

So I get up and people on the plane are trying to sleep and I made my way to the restroom.  And it was already starting to emerge.  And I tried to open one of those demonic bathroom doors.  Finally I just whack it and I threw up. It was horrible.  It was violent.  And after one of my episodes I looked at myself and here I am on the floor of this bathroom on the British Airways.  I couldn’t get up.  You know how it is.  I looked at myself in the mirror after throwing up and I’m thinking to myself, “Ed, you’re record now is hanging in the balance.”  Because many of you don’t know this, for 19 years I have never missed a weekend due to sickness.  And I said to myself, “I’m going to bust through it.  Even though I’m barfing, even though I’m hurling, I’m going to try to preach at Fellowship Church this weekend.”  Here I am.

Even though my throat is sore due to the acid and even though I’m not 100 percent.  I’m about 95 but I’m here.  And I’m happy to be in church.  I will never fly 24 hours again.  You have probably flown ‑‑ I don’t know what I was thinking.  I’m going to break the trip up next time.  Wow, 24 hours.  And your head starts to hurt, too.  Anyway.

Travel is crazy, isn’t it?  We can travel anywhere in the world these days like that.  One of the things that really took me back the first time I traveled to the Holy Land, Israel, years ago was the distance that Jesus traveled.  He walked a lot.  You talk about walk this way, if you just look where he walked in a 24‑hour period, very few of us ‑‑ I’m sure triathletes could do it and marathoners could do it.  Very few of us could walk that much.

Jesus walked, he walked a lot.  It is fascinating and it’s interesting that the Christian life is called a walk.  Our bodies are made to walk.  We’re made to take steps.  I would argue that the healthiest thing we could do is to walk.  Yes, we can run and we can have a short burst of energy and now and then we’re to run in the Christian life. But basically it’s a walk, we’re just to walk.  And I want to challenge you in this brand new series we’re kicking off about walking, about Sole to Soul, I want to challenge you to take the step that is in front of you.

Because we have many people here in many different arenas of life, some of you need to take a step toward Jesus, toward salvation.  And salvation, becoming a follower of Christ, is a soul, S‑O‑U‑L to sole, S‑O‑L‑E, kind of thing.  They’re connected.

In other words, if you show me the direction of your heart I will show you the direction of your feet.  We become followers of Christ when we do what?  When we repent.  What does the world repentance mean?  It means we change our direction.  We give our soul to Jesus.  It’s a soul to sole thing.  It’s a transaction that only God can do.  Some of you, I believe, over the next couple of minutes are going to make this step.  You’re going to take this step.  Because if the truth were known, yes you’re taking steps, but you’re taking steps away from where God wants you.  Your steps are not really significant; they’re more or less superfluous.  Your whole mentality is “Okay, I guess I exist to take up space and I’m on this planet spinning into nowhere and I’m going to recreate, procreate, do deals and die and that is the meaning of life.”  You have been investigating this stuff.  You have been asking some hard questions about Jesus and about Scripture.  And you’re right here, ready to take this step toward Jesus.  You don’t have all the answers.  You still have doubts.  You still have issues. But I’m going to tell you something, once you take that step of faith, not some blind leap, but once you take that step of faith, once you step out based on the knowledge of what you’ve seen and how you know God is pulling you, your life will never be the same.  It is a sole to soul situation.

Over the next several sessions we’re going to ask and answer some huge questions like, “Who are you walking with?”  “Who are you walking alongside?”  “What or who are you moving away from?”

How is your walk? Are you standing there or are you really going somewhere?  Those are some big questions.  And we’re going to talk about those because this walk thing, this movement, this path, this purpose, this agenda that God wants us on is humongous.  It is a winning walk, a walk that a victor should and must take, not a victim.  Because too many of us are victims.  We’re just like “Oh man, I’m going to play the victim card.  I’m just in this situation because of this person or that person or this event happened to me and I’m just a victim.”

We can all do that.  It is time we realized who we are and whose we are.  It’s time we realize the direction of our heart is connected to the direction of our feet.  Which way are you walking?  Who are you walking toward?  Who are you walking alongside?  And what or who are you walking away from?  Major league questions, big time issues.

T.S. Jesus stepped into a boat one day.

It is interesting that the writer in the Gospel of Matthew talked about Jesus’ feet actually stepping into a craft.  And in Matthew 9 this craft moved from one area to Jesus’ hometown, Capernaum.  Capernaum was right there on the edge of the Sea of Galilee, a beautiful place, a melting pot of different cultures.  As Jesus landed in Capernaum some men brought this guy who had been paralyzed to Jesus.  And this man was just lying on a mat, paralyzed.  What a life, a life on a mat.  [Ed lies down on stage]

This is your life.  It is just a life on a mat.  Yet this man’s friends had enough faith to bring him to Jesus.  So Jesus had stepped into his hometown, Capernaum, and these men had stepped up.  It took some guts, it took some faith to bring their friend, paralyzed, to Jesus on mat.  And this situation demanded a response.

So if you have your Bibles turn to the Gospel of Matthew 9.  Because if we could really get real and take the masks off today I think a lot of us are paralyzed.  A lot of us are living life on a mat.  I’m not talking about physically.  I’m talking about we’re paralyzed because of the economy; because of the bear market; you might be paralyzed due to uncertainty, or fear, terrorism or a family situation or a marital problem.  So we can identify with this man who was paralyzed on mat.  This is our life.  This is our existence.  We’re on a mat.

So Matthew 9:2.  “Some men brought it to him, a paralytic, lying on a mat.  When Jesus saw their” ‑‑ what? ‑‑ “faith.”

Jesus is waiting for your faith and my faith.  It takes faith to take a step.  It takes faith to move out.  The Christian life, if I could summarize it in one word, it would be obedience.  What’s the secret?  It is obedience.  As we take and make steps, that is when the Lord gives us the 411; that is when he blesses us; that’s when he instructs us.  These things, though, these benefits, these blessings, are not going to accrue in your account or mine until we take and make a faith step.

Jesus saw their faith.  “He said to the paralytic” ‑‑ I thought this was kind of weird in a way ‑‑ “take heart.”  But when you think about it, it’s not weird.  Take heart, he said.  Jesus also said, do you remember this?  “Where your treasure is that’s where your heart is.”  What is the heart?  The heart is key.  As I said earlier the direction of my heart is pretty much the direction of my feet.  You show me who you’re walking toward, who you’re walking alongside or who I’m walking toward or alongside, if we could see who we’re really walking with and how we’re walking, it’s really a heart issue.  Our feet simply go, our soles simply go where our soul is leaning.  That’s what Jesus said.

So he said “Take heart.”  Then he says “Your sins are forgiven.”  Now when Jesus said this, you have to realize, this was a radical statement‑‑ Jesus was a radical.  As I always say, Jesus was not some pale, frail, blue-eyed, skinny, decaf sipping white boy.  No, no, no.  He was a man’s man.  He was a rebel, a radical.  When he said that your sins are forgiven ‑‑ by the way, your sins are forgiven, oh my goodness, the scribes and the religious intelligentsia went on tilt.  “What?!  You’re blaspheming God.  Are you saying you’re God?  Only God can forgive sins.”

Yes, that’s what he was saying.  And Jesus is talking this game and he is going to now walk it.  And he’s going to put it in these peoples’ faces as this plot continues to clot.

So he said, “Take heart.  Your sins are forgiven.”  I want to talk about the heart for a second.  Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, that’s where your heart is.”  Maybe it is just me, but do you ever find yourself seeking the things you should be giving?  I mean, maybe it’s just me, I don’t know.  Like, do you ever find yourself seeking resources and money?  Now the Bible never tells us to seek resources or money.  The Bible tells us to give it, but not to seek it.  Maybe it is just me.  Do you ever find yourself seeking encouragement?  I just need to be encouraged.  I just need a big pat on the back.  I just need a high five, honey.  The Bible never tells us to seek that.  The Bible tells us to what?  Give that.  I just need nourishment.  I am just seeking spiritual nourishment.  The Bible never says that.  The Bible says to give spiritual nourishment and when I give it, what is going to happen?  I’m going to receive it.

You see, the gospel, now, is going to turn weird.  Have you ever thought about this?  The gospel is weird.  The gospel is good news, but it’s weird.  Some of you are like, “What do you mean weird?”  Yes, it is weird.  It starts out all about me.  I love the gospel.  Praise the Lord, hallelujah!  It is all about me.  My sins and God has died on the cross for my dysfunction and my rebellion and I turn from my stuff and turn to him and Jesus is my savior.  That’s right.  It is all about me.  The gospel stars out all about me, me, me, me.  It is all about me.  And a lot of people stop right there.  “It is about me and mine and my.  How am I doing?”  And we want all the worship songs to focus on my stuff.

But then a weird thing takes place, this presto chango, this reversal takes place once we give our soul, S‑O‑U‑L, and the soles of our life, S‑O‑L‑E‑S, change direction, the gospel changes.  It is not about me anymore.


No.  It is not about me.

“What do you mean, it’s about God?”

No.  Now it’s about others.  Again, they don’t tell you this many times before you become a Christian.  But I will just tell you, some of you who need to take this step to become a believer; you’re not a believer yet. This will happen.  I’m just going to tell you, it is really doing the hard yards.  Because when you walk with Jesus, you will have to do the hard yards.  Yes, sometimes you’ll run; sometimes it’s on autopilot; sometimes you’re just cruising; sometimes you’re just flying and those are awesome times.  But there are some times when you have to do those hard yards.

So the gospel is weird.  It changes from me ‑‑ it starts ‑‑ it has to ‑‑ but then it turns into others.  But I wanted to throw that in.  I don’t want to do a bait and switch type thing.  Hey, receive Jesus and now it’s about others.  They didn’t tell me that.  Now you know.

So then Jesus looks at this guy and let me spend some time here just for a second.  He said “Your sins are forgiven.”  Now when he said it of course the religious people freaked out.  But let’s go a little bit deeper, because the gospel is good news and it’s all about reconciliation.

So think about steps for a second.  We step up.  We’re reconciled to God through Christ.  Then we have to step out.  We need to reconcile because we have been reconciled by God through Christ to others.  Then we need to step in and forgive ourselves.

So many believers ‑‑ let me talk to believers for a second.  So many believers waste all this time worrying about God’s will.  And it can keep you paralyzed and on the mat.

“I wonder if it is God’s will.  Is it God’s will for me to drive to the store today and buy some groceries?  It is God’s will for me to take the trip to Johannesburg and spend 24 hours ‑‑ is it God’s will?  I’m not sure.  Let’s pray about it.”

We waste energy and time just trying to dissect the little intricacies of God’s will.  It is all about walking.  Just take the step in front of you.  God has given you the step.  The step has been formed by him, it has been established by him.  Just take and make the next step toward Jesus.

Because all of us only have one ministry.  Did you know that?  I can guarantee you this, we only have one ministry.  Are you ready for it?  Do you want to know what it is?  Some of you are like, “I think I know.”  And again, I’m talking about doing the hard yards here, this is ‑‑ and those of you who are outside the family of God this is what you will do once you get reconciled to God through Christ.  2 Corinthians 5:17‑18 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation….”

It is my only ministry.  So I’m reconciled to God through Christ.  Yeah, it is about me.  Praise the Lord, my sins are forgiven and forgotten.  The old is gone.  The new has come in.  I’m signed, sealed, delivered.  When Jesus says “Walk this way,” I’m walking that way.  Awesome.  But it doesn’t stop there.

The ministry ‑‑ that means it’s active ‑‑ of reconciliation. Because I have been reconciled to God through Christ, that means I’m challenged to do the reconciliation work with others.  And this is where it gets messy.

You see, the others in your life and mine, they have walked away from us; they have been betrayed us; they have hurt us; they have abused us; they have done unfair things to us; they have taken money from us; they have lied about us; they have slandered us; they have blogged about us ‑‑ what do you do?  What do you do?  Do you cuss them out?  Do you flip them off?  What do you do?  Do you track them down and just beat the fool out of them?  What do you do?

You forgive them.  Even though they have walked away from you, you walk toward them and alongside them long enough to do what only you can do, which is to do the work and forgive them and release them.

“But what if they don’t receive it and…”

Just do your part.  God will take care of them.  It is tough.  But we’re commanded to do it.  Friendships, marriages, dating relationships, school, the corporate world, the church.  Then, after we step up and step out with others then we’re commanded to step in, we’re to forgive ourselves.  And I don’t know about you, but that can keep me paralyzed right on the mat.

“Okay, I understand I’m reconciled to God through Christ and I have done the reconciliation work but I just can’t forgive myself.  You don’t know what I did back in the day or last month.  I’m here and I need to ‑‑ wow, I don’t know, I need to take a step and get my life right with Jesus but you don’t know what I’m into….”

And we lie here paralyzed.  And we never, ever discover the walk that Jesus has for us.  We have to forgive ourselves.  I mean, if you have done the forgiveness work, the only person that brings up those sins in the past is the devil himself.  The devil is a liar.  His language is lie-nese.  He speaks lie-nese.  He lies and he’s the father of lies and he lies and lies some more and lies.

So in your mind just call him what he is, he is a liar.  The devil is a liar.  Just say, “Those sins have been forgiven and forgotten.  I have done the work.  I have stepped up.  I have stepped out now I’m stepping in and take and make that next step.”

So now what does Jesus do?  He is still talking to our boy, paralyzed on the mat.  Life on the mat.  And we’re going to see how Jesus is going to change this guy, because this guy has spent his life on the mat. And Jesus now is going to give him a life that matters.

Matthew 9:6, “Then he said to the paralytic, ‘Get up…’”  He didn’t say, “Let me help you up.”  The paralytic didn’t play the victim card.  Jesus said “Get up, take responsibility for yourself.  Get up.  You have to take step.”

Jesus is not going to force us to take the step.  Get up.  “Take your mat and go home.”  That’s weird.  Go home?  Well, no it’s not weird because when we’re at home, we’re really known. Do you know what I’m saying to you?

And during this season, as Jesus has changed and is changing your life, when you go home, pray that God will give you windows of opportunity to talk about the life change, to talk about what Jesus is doing in your life.  I think that’s why Jesus told him to go home.  Show your parents, show your brothers and sisters this miracle has taken place.  Matthew 9:8, “When the crowd saw this they were filled with awe and they praised God who had given such authority to men.”  Wow.  It’s phenomenal.

So what we seek is what we should give.  And as we walk in sync with the Savior, we have to be willing to do the hard yards.  Even when we have questions, even when we have doubt as we step out in faith what’s going to happen?  That’s when Jesus will give us the 411 as we step out in faith and in obedience; that’s when the blessings will occur and that’s when we’ll see the next step and the next step and next step.

You see a lot of us have this mentality that Christianity is a solo sport.  We still think the gospel is all about me.  “It’s all about me.”  It’s not.  I mean, it is about me, but this reversal takes place and we discover it’s about others.  That is why we have the body of Christ.

The body of Christ is the church.  The church is made to do what?  To walk.  Jesus is walking.  I will give you a great verse, Psalm 37:23‑24, it says, “The steps of a man are established by the Lord and he delights in their way.  When we fall” ‑‑ we’re going to fall; it is going to be happened ‑‑ “he will not be hurled” ‑‑ I understand that word, this is different ‑‑ “head long.” In other words, we will land on our feet.  “…because the Lord is the one who holds his hand.”

Illus: One time when the twins were younger we were in downtown Fort Worth and I was crossing the street.  And I had the hands of each of the twins and I could tell as we crossed this busy street that the twins wanted to let go.  But I’m stronger than them.  I had their hands.  Their father had them even though they were trying to let go.  They weren’t going anywhere.

That’s the picture here.  Once we’re adopted into the family of God, once we make the grace reception, once we have this sole to soul thing happening, what’s going to happen?  We’re in the family of God and our father has our hand. And even though we might try to let go and we’re going to stumble and fall we’re going to do that. He has got you and he’s got me.  He is right there.  He has us by the hand.  No matter what happens, no matter what the economy looks like, no matter what terroristic activity takes place, no matter what uncertainty, no matter what thing that has us on the mat, I’m telling you, it is time to get up and to go home and to step up and step out.

But see, we have to understand that we’re a part of the body of Christ.  Yes, the gospel is about me, but also it’s about others.  So as I move in sync with the savior, with the body of Christ, that’s when Jesus moves in my life.  Does your heart beat fast for the body of Christ?  Are you a part of the body of Christ?  Are you walking in the body of Christ?

Illus: When we were in Johannesburg after speaking several times the pastor and his wife drove my family and I out to this area.  We found ourselves in a Jeep and we were riding around in this photo safari looking at all these animals.  We saw a herd ‑‑ I called it ‑‑ of zebras.  When I said “zebra” the guide asked, “Where are you from?”  I said Texas.  He laughed and said, “I could have guessed.”

I said, “Wow, that’s a big herd of zebra.”

He said, “Yes, but that’s not a herd of zebra; that’s called a dazzle of zebras.”

I said, “A dazzle?”

He said, “Yes, a dazzle.”  And here’s what he explained to me. When the zebra get together in these herds, these dazzles, as they group tightly, the predator, the lion, as he looks at the dazzle, his eyes are dazzled because he doesn’t know where the stripes end and begin.  He doesn’t know where one animal ends and the other begins.  He said the lion is always looking for a zebra walking alone.  And when he sees a zebra alone, it’s dinner time.

That’s the church.  We’re a dazzle.  When we’re together, when we’re serving one another and encouraging one another and resourcing one another and loving one another the predator, he can’t tell where one ends and the other begins.  He is dazzled.  But if we’re alone, isolated, just trying to pave our own path, to forge our own future, we’re in trouble.

1 Peter 5:8, “Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring looking for someone” ‑‑ not a group ‑‑ someone “to devour.”  Lions run the hundred meters in 4 seconds.

We have to move, we have to walk in the church.  And as we’re walking in the body of Christ we have to move from the hospital mentality because yes, the church is a hospital for sinners.  We have to move from the hospital mentality to the family mentality.  Yes, the church is a family, too.  But we have to move and march from hospital to family, from family to an army.

We are the army of God.  We’re going places.  We’re stepping out.  We’re marching.  We’re advancing, step by step.  So everybody stand.  Let’s march.  Isn’t that good?  It feels good, doesn’t it?  As we walk in sync with the savior, it is all about soul and soles.  Let’s pray together.

[Ed ends in closing prayer.]