April 17-18, 2010
How you guys doing? You doing well? Yeah, I am too, I am too. I’m doing great. Again, I want to welcome all of our environments to the miracle of technology. We’re seen in all different places from Miami to Dallas, from Dallas to Fort Worth, Fort Worth to Plano, right here in beautiful Grapevine. And also this will be seen on the World Wide Web and also with our television show all over the world.
Today, I’m talking about Soul Train – Part 3. Soul Train. And what I’m getting into is peace. That’s what I’m talking about. I’m talking about what? Peace. Say it with me again, Peace. Yeah, I’m talking about peace. Peace. Because we talk about peace all the time these days. Peace this, peace that. Peace. Peace. Peace. What does it mean when you say the word, or I say the word peace? Because you know this is a pretty popular sign. Then the peace symbol. Everyone is talking, everyone is advertising about peace. Many times when people are firing off an email or a letter, they’ll sign it, Peace, comma, their name. So, everybody wants some peace.
You know, our culture talks about peace. And we discuss peace a lot. But so often we don’t really know the depth of peace. Yeah we know peace, but do we really understand what it’s all about?
Most of us would define peace as simply the halting of hostilities. In other words, if you ask someone on a far away battlefield, “Hey, what’s your definition of peace?”
They would say, “Well, it means to put down the weapons. It means to put the planes in the hanger. It means to sail the ships back into the harbor. It means not to fire anymore bullets.”
And that’s a definition of peace, but that’s not really the true depth and true meaning of peace. Because I really believe if we could hear the way God wants us to hear, if we could hear with the ears of God, it might sound something like this right now. (War noises)
Now, I’m not imitating some battlefield way out there. I’m talking about the war in your life and in mine. Because we all have this battle going on, this war going on. The Bible talks about it. We want to desire to do the things that God has for us. Because remember, God has laid out a phenomenal track for us. The track is made of wood, iron and rock. And those are the three elements of the Gospel. What’s the Gospel? The Good News of Jesus. The wood is the cross. The iron would be the nails that pierced Christ’s hands and feet. The rock would be the empty tomb.
So God has laid out this phenomenal plan for us, this phenomenal track for us, and if we get off track, if we try to lay our own track, ultimately our lives will end up in a train wreck.
On the other hand, if we say, “Ok, God, I’m going to give You my soul, and I want You to train my soul. I’m going to put my soul on Your train, You train my soul.” Then, here’s what God does.
God will lead us into love, and also God will pressure you and me into peace. But the peace I’m referring to is something more, something deeper than just halting hostilities.
It’s sort of like snorkeling. How many people have snorkeled here before? You’ve snorkeled? Yeah, a lot of people have snorkeled. Snorkeling is fun, but you’re pretty much skimming off the surface of the water. You’re looking down, you’re looking around.
Snorkeling though, is snorkeling. And usually, when I’ve snorkeled, I’ve had some friends with me who are into SCUBA. And cats that are into SCUBA, they go deep. They put the wet suits on, they put the tanks on, and the fins and everything. They go deep. And whenever they emerge from the water, they say, “Ed, Ed. You need to get certified. Man, you need to go deep. The colors are unbelievable. The fish are ginormous. The coral reef, and it’s just, it’s just awesome. You need to go deep.”
I would argue that our definition of peace is simply halting of hostilities. It’s simply snorkeling so often instead of going deep.
So, let’s take that definition, the halting of hostilities, which most people in the world would define as peace, and let’s place it in John 14:27. And Also Romans 5:1. Let’s think about that, because in John 14:27, the Bible says, “Peace I leave with you,” this is Jesus talking, “my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” Here’s what Jesus is saying. He’s saying, “Peace I leave with you.” Christ was about peace, He is the Prince of Peace. He said, “I leave it with you. And I give it to you.” And we have an option. We either reject it or receive it, receive it or reject it. And that’s your choice, that’s mine. I can’t make it for you, you can’t make it for me.
God is a God of peace. And it’s more than just a halting of hostilities. It’s more than just saying, “Hey, you know what? God and I are cool. I am feelin’ it between myself and the man upstairs. Everything is great between God and I.”
It’s more than this divine Dante. It’s really the serenity of a secured soul. Did you hear that? That’s the definition of godly peace, the peace that I want to talk to you about. The serenity of a secured soul.
Those of us who have been made right with God through Christ, we have peace with God. Say ‘with,’ with me. “With.” We’ve got peace with God. How? Through Jesus. Through Jesus Christ.
So, I’ve got peace, you’ve got peace. Real peace. The serenity of a secured soul through Jesus Christ. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.”
So, it’s more than just halting hostilities. It’s more than just putting the weapons down. It’s more than just saying, “You know, I’m cool with God, and he’s cool with me.” It is experiencing the peace with God that comes by receiving Jesus Christ.
You know, the first time I ever thought about peace was in the second grade. And I’ve written about this in one of my books. I went to Taylors Elementary School. I was in the cafeteria in the 2nd grade, and all the kids and I were making all these noises and this and that, and we had this principal that was a ginormous guy. He was like 6’5”. 320 pounds. His name was Principal W.A. Woodruff. He had this booming voice and this great crew-cut. We were all scared to death of him.
And one day we were acting crazy in the lunch room and he walked in. And you could have heard a pin drop. We all just glanced at W.A. Woodruff. We were thinking, “What’s he going to do?” Because rumor had it he paddled kids with a 2 x 4.
And you know, there’s always that kid in every class who has no fear. You know, that kid who’s kind of crazy? The crazy eyes, you know? We had a kid in our class who goes, “Peace, Mr. Woodruff, peace!”
And we all waited. We all held our breath to see what Principal W.A. Woodruff would do. And you know what he did? “Peace! Peace.” And we felt so good that we had peace with W.A. Woodruff, this guy who could really hurt you. And every time we would see him, I mean, “Peace, peace, peace. Peace, peace.” That’s really my first recollection of peace.
Then, as I understood about the things of God, I understood that God is a God of peace. He wants me to experience, He wants you to experience the serenity of our soul.
Again, I put the soul on the track. God trains my soul. He leads me into love and He pressures me, that’s right, He pushes you and me into peace. So I’ve got peace with God through Christ.
But there’s something else you gotta understand. Once I make peace with God, once I receive that into my life, I also have peace from God. So, I’ve got peace with God, that’s the divine soulish peace. And then now, I have peace from God which is this personal peace. Personal peace.
Now, here’s what the Scriptures say about this, this personal peace. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious,” (choking noises) that’s what the word means. Everybody do that with me. (Choking) It means to choke, to strangle. Do you ever feel that way when you’re stressed out or anxious? I do. I’m like (choking), everyone feels that way. It just feels like, “Man, I’m losing air. I feel like I’m drowning. Oh no, oh no!”
Don’t be anxious. Don’t choke, “about anything, but in everything,” everything means everything, “by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,” wow, it is what it is, right? The peace of God, it is what it is, and the peace of God does what it does, “and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,” it isn’t logical. In other words, people in the culture can’t add it up. It doesn’t make sense. Behind me is a what? A locomotive. Loco. Crazy, right? Motive, I’m talking about crazy peace. I’m talking about crazy love. I’m talking about someone who experienced something that people are like, “What? What?” That’s what it is. It’s that unbelievable supernatural peace. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
So, what is the peace of God? The serenity of a secured soul. It is what it is. But also, it does what it does. I have peace with God, I have peace from God, and the peace of God, it tells me in Philippians, guards my heart. Whoa.
I remember back in the day, I was the Chaplain of the Houston Astros. I don’t even like baseball that much. I mean, if you’re a baseball player, great. But I don’t like follow baseball. I’m not really into it that much. Yet they ask me to be like the reverend of the Houston Astros. And here’s what it meant. It meant for every home game, I’m talking about back in the day. I would go to the Astrodome, and walk into the Astro’s clubhouse and do this like church service for all the players. I didn’t know who I was talking to. I was just going to do this service, whatever.
Then after that, I would go to the opposing team’s clubhouse, and talk to them. And my friends who are like rabid baseball fans are like, “Ed! You don’t realize who you’re talking to, man! These guys are incredible, Oh!”
I’m not really a baseball fan. But here’s something that I noticed about professional athletes, especially in the clubhouse. There was a lot of security. I mean a bunch.
But there was one dude that would sit in front of the entrance of the clubhouse. And this guy was a monster. I mean, (vwoom, vwoom, vwoom) he would just stand there. He literally was the last security person before you entered the holy of holies, you know what I’m saying to you? The clubhouse. And he would guard it with his life. He was armed, he was ready, he was intense. And even though I had done this many, many times, he would always question me and talk to me, and “Let me see your ID and why are you here?”
But I’m telling you, the professional teams could hang out in the clubhouse with confidence because they had somebody guarding the clubhouse. The peace of God guards your clubhouse and mine.
Now, it begins with a divine peace, peace with God. It transcends all understanding. We have peace from God, and then also too, check this out, I’m still talking about peace, we got the peace of God.
So, real peace, the serenity of a secured soul, starts with God. I have peace, right, with God. Then from God. Now, I got the peace of God.
So, you could say the peace from God is a personal peace, right? And the peace of God would be this relational peace. And I’m giving you simply pieces of peace. I’m not simply piecemealing a definition of peace together, I’m giving you pieces of peace because they’ll all work together, we’ll see in a second, to make one big peace, right? Peace. Peace.
So, we got the peace of God. Relational peace. And, you know, I gotta get up in your grill and ask you something right now – do you have relational peace in effect in your life. Because I think a lot of people think that peace is like passive. Peace is weak, peace is like, “I’m gonna lie down and become this or that.” No, no, no.
Peace is active. It’s tenacious, not timid. It’s stepping up, it’s doing something, it’s the peace of God.
So we have peace with God, peace from God, and then the peace of God, relational peace. Wow, look at Romans 12:18. This is a verse that is tough. It says, “If it’s possible,” again, not everything here, I’m talking about, not every relationship can have that peace flowing back and forth. It can have it in regards to your life and mine, but it’s up to the other person as well. Are you with me?
Are you tracking with me? Yeah, ok. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
So, it’s up to you, it’s up to me, to live at peace with everybody. That’s the peace of God. And as believers, that should snap the heads of those people who are far away from God.
Just several days ago, I spent some time with a friend of mine named Drew. And Drew is far away from God. I’ve been developing a relationship with him for several years. And he told me something the other day that really meant so much to me.
I’ve introduced Drew to several of my friends, and he goes, “Ed,” he said, “You know, I don’t know a lot about this whole Jesus thing, this Christianity thing, but,” he said, “the guys that you introduced me to, the guys that are your friends,” said, “they have something that is different about them. I can’t put my finger on it, but they all have the same thing.” Isn’t that interesting? What does he see from my friends? He sees peace with God. The peace from God, and the peace of God that transcends all understanding. People see that in your life. Do they see that in my life?
That’s a great thing to think about. Because that should be one of the character qualities of someone who follows Christ. Because the Scriptures tell us, for example, I’ll give you kind of an extra verse here, Isaiah 48:22. The Scriptures say that ‘“There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”’ In other words, you lay down your own track. You jump on your own train, you do your own thing. You know, it’s not going to be a peaceful existence.
And here’s what’s so interesting. When I was with my friend Drew, and right after he told me that, about the peace that he saw in my friends lives, we happen to run into a man just by a strange set of circumstances, 77 years old, fabulously wealthy, and one of the saddest individuals I’ve talked to in a long, long time.
You talking about someone who was at war with himself. He tried things and gone after things and tried to sustain and maintain, and attain everything you could possible imagine. You’ll never get there, I doubt. I’ll never get there, doing what he’s done or trying what he’s tried with that money. So miserable. So sad. So narcissistic. So selfish. So gruff. So wicked. And I was looking at this guy thinking, “Dude, you’ve wasted 77 years of your life trying to find the answer to peace. And you’re more at war today, you’re angrier today, I guarantee it, than when you were 18, 19, 20 years old.”
And after the conversation, even my friend Drew, who is far away from God is like, “Ed. That dude is jacked up, man. That dude is empty.”
And I said, “Drew, listen, man,” I said, “whenever you go away from God, and do your own thing, that’s going to be the result.” So I said, “What a great thing for you to even think about and contemplate,” because I’ve been sharing with him, little by little, about Christ and peace of God that surpasses all understanding, and how to have peace with God, and peace from God and the peace of God.
I said, “Drew, you’re young. Now is the time to really think this decision through, and to make this choice. Because you don’t want to end up wasting your one and only life.”
Do you have, do you have the peace of God relationally? In your marriage? In this friendship? In this connection you have in the business world? Do you have peace with your teammates, or classmates, or running buddies, or your girlfriends? Do you have peace with them?
Because again, once we put our soul on the train, God trains our soul. And one of the things He does is He does what? He leads us into love. We talked about love, and we know love. Supernatural, one of a kind love. Commitment on steroids love, right? Love of another kind from God, that’s real love.
Then, though, He says, “Ok, I want to push you into peace. Because if you Me, right? You’re gonna pursue peace.”
Well, I want to give you some pieces of peace right quick. Pieces of peace. And you can take this, I think, and put this in effect today.
Now, the first word I’m going to write, and again, you know I’m a horrible speller, so just correct me. You say, “Ed, that’s wrong, man.” And I’ll just change it, ok. I’m confident that I’m a horrible speller, so it’s cool. Ok. Let me see how I can do this.
If I said pursuit, is that P.E.R.? That’s pathetic. The second letter, already a turnover. If I wet this, will it… it’d be nasty? That’s all right. I’ll just put a little bit, that’s all right. We all have spit. Come on, man. Get over it. Everybody does.
P.U.? Oh wow, Thank you, Lisa. Lisa is a great speller. P.U.R. ok. S. Thank you. Now see, I can write ok. It’s the spelling where I fall apart. U. I. T. Thank you very much. Pursuit! Pursuit! That’s the first thing that we’re called to do as followers of Christ, we’re to pursue peace. We’re not to be passive, active. Not timid, tenacious. We’re to pursue it. Are you pursuing peace?
When you’re in dissonance in a relationship, when you’re out of kilter. When something is not right, when you have that gnawing sensation that, “You know, we’re not on the same page.” Are you pursuing peace? Because the Bible says, those of us who follow Christ should pursue it. Take the initiative.
“Yeah, but she’s, she’s like mostly wrong, man. I’m not gonna go crawling back to her…” Remember, as far as it depends on you, it’s on you, peace is what it is, it does what it does. Pursue peace. Are you pursuing it? Who do you need to pursue to have that peace conference?
Here’s another word. Empathy. Please help me with this one. E.M.P.A? Yeah, all right, I got it now. Em-pa-path-ee. Is that right? Somebody? Empathy.
So you pursue it, you sit down with the person, hopefully it’s a person. And then you begin to empathize. I’m not talking about sympathize. Sympathize is like, “Oh, I feel sorry for you. Oh I really feel sorry for you. (Crying).” No, no, no, no, no. That’s just, that’s just sympathy.
Empathy is, I’m putting myself in your context, in your shoes, in your skin, in your situation, in your job, in your responsibilities, in your pressures. That’s what it is.
Doc Martins. Anybody got some Doc Martin shoes? Doc Martin shoes are great shoes. They’re coming back. And if you wear them, like, you’re on the bleeding edge of fashion. Doc Martin shoes, when you get a box of them, it talks about that, you know, it’s great to walk in someone else’s shoes. But, it says, once you walk in Doc Martins, in someone else’s Doc Martin’s, you’ll never give them back. You’ll never give the shoes back. They’re that comfortable.
So as I live my life, it’s kind of like the Doc Martin principal. I want to put on your shoes, man. I want to step in your shoes and your sandals or whatever and, and empathize with you.
So, I’m pursuing peace, I’m empathizing, then I’m accepting, I’ll put accept, E. A.C.C.E.P.T. Thank you. I accept the fact when I’m pursing peace, and I’m showing empathy, I accept the fact that the Gospel is on the line. I mean, the gospel is on the line in every relationship that we, that we have. The gospel, the grace, the mercy of God is on the line. The Bible says that we receive the ministry of reconciliation. It’s not something that we do once or twice, we live in it. We’re in the ministry of reconciling. And all we gotta do is take a look at the cross and go, “Wow.” All we gotta do is think about the wood, the iron and the rock and go, “Wow! Jesus forgave me, He released me, even though I didn’t deserve it, after my best day, I’m going to rush to make peace with You.” Accept.
I empathize, I pursue.
Also too, I think it’s important to confess. Confess. What is confession? It’s agreeing with God. What is confession? It’s coming clean. It’s saying, “Ok, you know, I blew it, I screwed up, I messed up. I want to confess my part.”
Again, even if the other person is 75% wrong. Don’t say it, “Man, you’re 75% wrong, I’m a little bit wrong.” No, no, no. You confess your stuff. Because God tells us to do that. And God knows it, and He tells us to do it. Have you done that regularly? Are you doing that regularly? It should be an occurrence that happens often in your life and mine. However, I would argue, the longer we’re on the soul train, the less we’ll have to do these things because it’s such work to do it, it’s like, “I’m going to live relational peace as much as I can.”
But sometimes, let’s face it, sometimes, you sit down with a person, do all these things, and you say, “Will you forgive me?” And do the work and they just don’t want to hear it. And I understand that. There are different exceptions, you know, to what I’m talking about, different relational situations, relational sticking points. But generally speaking, generally speaking, this is what the Scripture says for us to do. We pursue, we empathize, we accept, we confess, and then, oh yeah, do this, enjoyment.
- Help me on this one. N. Oh yeah, thank you. J. O. Oh that’s cool, see how it kind of goes into the Y? You like that? Thank you. M. E. N. T. Enjoyment. So, after that takes place, we go, “Wow, I can really enjoy life. I can enjoy the track. Enjoy the Soul Train. I can enjoy it. I got peace love and soul. I can enjoy it. I’m reconciled. I got peace with God. I got peace from God, I got the peace of God in my relational world. Peace. And of course that spells peace too. I hope you recognize that, didn’t you? P. E. A. C. E. Yeah, Ok. I just wanted to make sure you got that.
Peace. But as you think about that, just for a second, that’s Jesus, right? Has Jesus pursued you and me? Are you kidding me? He’s all about pursuit. The Hound of heaven.
Empathy, He took your junk and mine on His shoulders. Your sin and mine. God became flesh and dwelt among us, the Bible says. “Hey, how about acceptance? Accept? That, I mean, the gospel is the Good News of Jesus. And obviously accepted the responsibilities, and He wants us to accept Him and to receive the peace of God in our lives.
Confession – Jesus loves you and me enough to tell us the truth about our condition. He’s like, “You know what? You’re a sinner. Yeah, that’s the bad news. But the good news is I died on the cross for your sins,” Jesus is saying, “and rose again. And I offer you eternal life.”
God’s love from above. Our bad that’s sad. That’s sin. God’s solution to our pollution, that’s Jesus. And it’s our call to Christ’s all.
Enjoyment? That’s what Jesus wants. You want to live a life to the max? You want to live a life on a soul nutha level? Huh?
Allow God to take your soul, and train your soul. Allow God to lead you to love. Allow God to give you His peace. You can have His peace. You can have peace with God, from God, and of God. And then, you’ll have a soul that is secured and is all about serenity. Serenity.
Man, we need some peace, don’t we? We need some peace. 3,500, over 3,500 years of recorded history, only 286 of those 3,500 years of recorded history is a time-zone where we had peace. Only 286 against the backdrop of 3,500 years, we’ve had no war. That’s crazy isn’t it?
And during that 286 years of peace, over 8,000 peace treaties have been signed. Ha, that is kind of funny isn’t it? It really is.
I read about somebody who said, “You know, peace is the time when everybody stands around and reloads.” That’s a fact. But I’m talking about something deeper, right? I’m talking about the peace that surpasses all understanding.
If you want that peace, would you please bow your heads with me for a moment? Every head is bowed and every eye is closed.
God, thank You for this series on Soul Train. Thank You for training our souls and thank You for showing us the track. Thank You for showing us the love and the peace. And I pray now, Lord, that many people here, many people here would just say, “Jesus, I want to receive Your peace.”
But here’s the great news. Check this out. Jesus died on the cross and rose again. And you can have peace with God by simply saying, “Jesus, I give my life to You.” Yeah, that’s the soulish peace. But You can have the personal peace. A peace that people are looking for. Just say, “Jesus come into my life. Jesus, I want Your peace. Jesus, I believe in You and I receive You.” Just say that.
If you said that, that’s the best thing you’ll ever do. And if you said that, after this service, I want to tell you to do something very quickly. I want to tell you, if you prayed that prayer with me, if you just breathed that prayer with me, then go to our lobby and pick up a book that I’ve written for you. And it’s my gift to you called Next Step. Next Step. Just say, “Hey, I want a Next Step book.” Even if you’re still considering it, even if you’re like my friend Drew, and you’re not there yet. Hey, just check it out and read it. It’s our gift to you.
Others here need to really get serious about this peace of God, this relational peace. Maybe there’s a barrier, maybe there’s a wall. Maybe there’s some trouble. Maybe you’re like, “You know what? It’s this person, it’s that person, whatever.” Well, maybe you’ve not done the work, you know, the pursuit and the empathy and the acceptance and the confession and the enjoyment that God wants. So maybe it’s time to set that date, to text them, to email them. Say, “Hey, let’s sit down and do this deal.”
You know, others have done it. And the other person is like, “You know what? I’m not going to receive it and I’m not going to deal with it.” You know, that’s cool. God understands. The Bible says, “If it’s possible, as much as you can do in this process, you do it.”
So, Lord, we give this time to You, we thank You for harmony, we thank You for peace, we thank You for the serenity of a secured soul in Christ’s name, Amen. Amen.