April 3, 2011
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How are you guys doing today? Are you doing well? I want to put up our scripture verse on the side screens and let’s read it together. Philippians 1:6, and I will count us into reading. 1-2-3… “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Father, I have zero to say, you have everything to say. Use my vocal cords to communicate your message to every life here. God, only you know the situations, only you know the conversations that people are having right now with you and with issues they’re dealing with. I thank you, God, for what’s going to happen during this time. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Illus: Just a couple of nights ago a friend of mine and I were sitting on my porch. He looked at me and asked,
“Ed, you’ve been doing Fellowship Church now for 20 years. Have you ever wanted to quit? Have you ever wanted to throw in the towel?” I said,
“Yeah, definitely I’ve wanted to quit. Numerous times I’ve wanted to say, ‘You know, I’ve had enough.’” He said,
“Tell me about the first time you wanted to quit.” I said,
“Well, I was told that the church that we helped start with 30 family was a bunch of young, energetic, I’ll-go-for-it, I’ll-do-whatever-it-takes kind of people. When I saw the church for the first time there was maybe 10 families that had that. The rest, though, weren’t a pretty bunch, if you feel me. Dysfunctional. Negative. Self-absorbed.”
Whenever you start a church, usually the disgruntled and crazy people who have left other churches always gravitate to the new church. You know, people with those crazy eyes, get up in your grill, you know? And after about several months or so I wanted to quit. Because when I first saw the church, everything inside of me said, “Ed, you’re making a mistake. Ed, this is not working. Ed, don’t do it. Don’t do it.”
And to be totally frank with you, I had some serious fear going on in my life. I said “God, I can’t do this. I’m not equipped. I don’t have the skill set. I don’t have the stuff to pastor this church. I just don’t have it.”
In the midst of my conversation with God, though, he reminded me almost audibly, “Ed, I’ve called you. Ed, you’re my man. Ed, this is bigger than anything you could ever come up with, bigger than any dream, any situation, you can ever conjure up. Ed, you’re my man. I will gift you, I will task you with the responsibility of leading Fellowship Church.”
So I had this wave of Godfidence. This spiritual swagger. Not pride, not “I’m the man,” because whenever I go through a time of wanting to quit, when I’m riddled by fear or maybe I think I’m this or that, God always reminds me, “Ed, you are my man.”
If you’re fearful you have to man up and say “God, I want to be your man.”
If you’re prideful you say, “I’m the man.” Whenever you say “I’m the man, (and we’ve all said that before, right?)” what happens? We discover we’re not the man; that God’s the man. And we either go from red to green or we don’t.
So during those times I wanted to quit God just reminded me, “Ed, you are my man. My dreams for you are bigger than you could ever come up with.” Because if I dreamed it myself my dreams would be too self-centered and too small compared to God’s dreams.
So I’m God’s man. For this church I’ve been God’s man for 20 years. I’m called here. That’s my story. I had no idea Fellowship Church would look like this, act like this, smell like this, have this kind of vibe, this kind of countenance, this kind of swagger, I had no clue. Didn’t plan it. I never, ever, ever thought it up. Had I thought this thing up it would be totally different. Had I done what I wanted to do it would be totally, totally opposite than what God has done right here. You are called.
You might be saying, “Wait a minute, Ed. I understand you’re a pastor. You’re call, it sounds cool, spiritual language, kind of ministerial jargon. Yeah. You are called. You’re called.”
Many of us right here on this Swag-O-Meter are in the fear area. You’re like, “God, I don’t have the stuff to do the stuff.”
You’re fearful. You’re afraid of failure. You’ve got a lot of anxiety, a lot of stress. You’re afraid to step out and take a risk. You’re just in this area (of fear). And fear is real. We all deal with fear. It’s a part of life.
When we’re born, doctors tell us, infants have two fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. Two fears. Now the other fears that we have, the fear of spiders, the fear of speaking in public, the fear of leading, the fear of risk taking the fear of flying, whatever. It doesn’t come from God.
Where are you on this Swag-O-Meter. Fearful? Apprehensive? Afraid? Wow. God has called you. He has a dream for you that will blow your dream out of the water. He has a plan, a purpose for your life that is out of this world. Whatever you can come up with on your own is gonna be too self-centered and too limited compared to what God wants to do.
That’s why when I walk in Godfidence I’m like, “God, I’m not the man.” I need to man up and say, “Lord, I’m your man. I’ve heard you repeatedly when I’ve wanted to quit tell me Ed, you are my man.” God is telling you that. “You are my man. You are my woman.”
What do you do? Do you dream God’s dream or do you say, “I’m going to dream what I want to dream and then I will put a God sticker on it. I will just do what I want to do and then God bless it.” We do that sometimes, don’t we?
What if we started with Godfidence? What if we started with, “OK, I want to man up (or woman up). I’m gonna say, ‘God, I’m your man, I’m your woman. I know you have this dream for me, this destiny for me. In every situation, every conversation, I give my life to you, I want to follow your dream for my life.”
You’re going to feel inadequate. You’re going to feel like you can’t do it. God has a plan just for you. He has you right where he wants you. But, if we’re not careful, though, if we’re not right here we can fall into pride. We can fall into arrogance.
Arrogant people say, “I’m the man.” Anybody here know an arrogant jerk? Come on, raise your hand. How many of you have brought an arrogant jerk to church today? You might be going, “Ed, I brought my husband.”
You know what I’ve discovered about arrogant people? Arrogance is unique. Pride is unique. You’ve got the overt pride, and that’s the people that are like, just in-your-face prideful. They talk about themselves, name drop, and this and that, and “I’m the man and I’m the man and I’m the man.” Overt pride. We all know people like that.
Then there’s covert pride, the quiet pride. People who are prideful in their humility. Sort of like the Pharisees back in the day of Christ. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather hang out with the people who have overt pride than covert pride, but that’s just me. Anyway, pride is real. Pride. I’m the man.
When you peel away the pride, though, when you peel away the arrogance, what do you have? You’ve got insecurity. You’ve got someone who is secure in their insecurity. I would submit to you that the most bold and the most brash, with that pimp limp, are really scared little boys and girls who lack Godfidence.
We want Godfidence. We want spiritual swagger, and we try to purchase it. We try to power up and hoard it and lord it over other people. We try to get to that right position and we think it will do it.
Godfidence is different. Godfidence is not “I’m the man.” Godfidence is, “God, I’m your man for this situation. You’ve equipped me; you’ve tasked me with just enough stuff to do your deal your way today in my limited time here on planet earth.”
So we either live in the fear column or the pride column. We need some spiritual symmetry, don’t we? We need to balance Godfidence.
What is Godfidence? Godfidence is the way you present yourself to the world. I’ve been talking about swagger jacker. Too many things, too many people hijack your swagger and mine. God wants us to live with swagger, with confidence. And I can when I realize, “God, I’m your man. For this church, I’m your man. For the company, I’m your man. For the team, I’m your man. For the school, I’m your man, or I’m your woman. I’m your woman to start the company. I’m your woman at home. I’m your woman as I love my husband. I’m your woman, I’m your woman.”
Where are you starting? Because if you start with yourself, you’ll end with yourself and you’ll never, ever discover the greatness that God has for you.
We’re on a search for swagger. Everybody’s looking for swagger. We try to manufacture swagger. Swagger is found in God. Why do we search for swagger? Go back to the Garden. We lost our swagger in the Garden. Man and woman, for the first time, looked away from God to something else, to someone else for their props. And ever since that day, ever since sin, which is simply missing the mark, entered the equation we have been trying to recapture swagger. Swagger starts with God. Godfidence.
Where are you on the Swag-O-Meter? Where are you? In fear? In pride? Or walking with Godfidence.
T.S. You might be asking how does this play out in my life? How can I live with spiritual swagger? How can I just understand and know God’s dynamic dream for my life?
You’ve got to be saved. What does it mean to be saves? Saved from what? Well, saved from pride, saved from fear, saved from a life of mediocrity. Ultimately saved from a Christ-less eternity.
Have you made that decision? That’s right, the decision to say, “God, you’re God and I’m not. God, I am fearful, I’m prideful, I have all of these world turnovers and mistakes. God I want to be your man. I want to be your woman.” That’s how it happens. You’re saved. Then you realize…
Two, you’re called. God has called you. He’s called people to help start churches like myself. He’s called people to be doctors and teachers, even lawyers. That’s right, a Christian lawyer. That’s not an oxymoron! There are some Christian lawyers. He has called people to be teachers and professors and professional athletes, people who work in the car business, the oil business, you name it! God has called you and me to certain places and certain situations and certain occupations.
“God, I’m your man. God, I’m your woman. God, I’m your boy. God, I’m your girl.” Not, “I’m the man! I’m the girl!”
Not, “Well, I just can’t do that. I’m so fearful, so much stress. What if I fail? What if I fumble the ball? What if I mess up? What if someone calls for me to speak? I’m just not sure. What if I end up being alone?
Scenario sickness, fear. But you know what’s so cool about this visual? Really, pride and fear are a lot alike. Because when you peel away the pride what do you have? Insecurity. When you peel away the fear what do you have? Insecurity. So fear and pride are like chips and hot sauce, man. They just run together. They run together. Godfidence. That’s what God wants.
“Well, Ed, how do I walk in Godfidence?” All right, I hope you’re tracking with me. Are you saved? Have you made that decision? It’s your decision. I can’t make it for you.
You realize you’re called. You’re called even though you haven’t responded to the call. You’re called. And if you feel inadequate, if you feel outmanned or out-womaned, join the club. I feel that way every single day as I discover God’s dream for my life right here. I never walk on stage and think, “oh man, I’ve got it. This is gonna be awesome!”
I never feel that way! I always feel under-prepared. I always feel like “man, I can’t believe I’ve got to say this.” And when I watch myself on video I’m like, “What an igmo!” I’m right where God wants me to be. God uses igmos. We’re all igmos.
“Well again, Ed, OK I’m saved. I’ve got that.”
Maybe you’re not saved. I know we have a lot of people here who are not saved and that’s great. Fellowship Church is a place for you, a place to check it out, a place to look around. OK some are not saved, some are saved. You’re called to a unique position. Remember, God’s dream for your life is bigger and bolder than any dream you can come up with.
T.S. Now the fun part. How do I live it out? Ed, I’m in fear, I’m in pride. I want Godfidence. How does this thing happen in my life? Let me give you several stories from the scripture.
Moses, you’ve heard of Moses before. Moses, the leader of God’s people. Moses walked into Pharaoh’s office: “Pharaoh, let God’s people – my people – Go.”
Pharaoh let them go because of all the plagues and everything, so all the people, the Israelites left. They began to march towards the Promised Land, led by Moses. As the people walked out Pharaoh thought, “Whoa. The economy is going to tank! I mean, all my cheap labor is gone.”
So here they are, the Israelites, they’ve left, and then Pharaoh gets together the Egyptian army and they are in high-speed pursuit. They are chasing the Israelites. So you’ve got God’s people marching towards the Promised Land, marching toward the Red Sea, an uncrossable wall of water.
Let me stop and press the pause button. Say uncrossable with me. 1-2-3-… uncrossable. An uncrossable wall of water. All of a sudden the Israelites look back, they see the armor of the Egyptians shining in the distance.
“Moses! Moses, what do we do? They’re chasing us! Moses, we’re heading toward the Red Sea, a wall of water. Aaaahhh!! We’ve got the Red Sea in front of us, the Egyptians in the back. What do we do? What do we do? What do we do? What do we do? What do we do?”
I bet Moses first of all said, “Shut up!” The Bible doesn’t say that, but surely he said it.
He said this: We’re going to walk in the direction God wants us to walk. We’re going to walk toward the wall of water. An uncrossable situation. We’re going to walk toward the wall. They walked toward the wall, the water was split open, they crossed on dry land, and you know the rest of His story.
God’s all about history – His story. What’s his story for your life? What are you facing right now that’s uncrossable? Are you facing a wall that’s uncrossable? You’ve got the Egyptians on your tail; you’ve got the uncrossable Red Sea in front of you. “Man, I don’t have Godfidence. I’m like, insecure. Pridefully insecure and fearfully insecure. What do I do, man?”
You take the step in the direction that God wants you to take. One step after another step. Because watch this. Somewhere between here and there; somewhere between A and B, God supernaturally gave the Israelites and Moses this Godfidence.
Philippians 1:6. “He who began a great work in you will complete it.” So we simply work out what God has worked in.
Maybe you’re facing an uncrossable situation, a relational situation, I don’t know. Run in the direction that God wants you to. He will give you strength. He will increase your confidence as you face it. Because when you go after God’s dream and his destiny it’s not always gonna be easy. You’re gonna face uncrossable situations.
There was a guy in the Bible named Namaan. Namaan had leprosy. Leprosy was like modern-day AIDS. There was not a cure for it. He was a very wealthy guy. He went to Elisha and said,
“Elisha, come outside and pray for my healing.” Elisha did not go outside. He sent a text to him. Well, really he sent an intern out to give him a text. And Namaan, this heavy hitter, was like scrolling, reading the text and he’s like,
“What? I came all the way to talk to God’s man and you’re gonna tell me to bathe seven times in the muddy Jordan River?” Read here if you’re in Texas, Trinity River. If you’re in Florida, the Everglades. Maybe if you’re somewhere else, the Mississippi River. The Amazon, I don’t know. Not a beautiful and pristine place.
Well, this guy’s like, “Man, I’m not going to do that. The guy won’t even see me! I’m important! I’m a VIP!” Then he thought, “All right. I’ll go your way, God.” He went in the direction God wanted him to all the way to the Jordan River and he went down…
“God, this is stupid. It smells,” he went down again.
“Leprosy’s still there.” He went down again.
“Leprosy’s still there.” He went down again…. Seven times. On the seventh time….
“Whaaa! I’m healed. I’m healed! I’m healed!”
Are you facing an unhealable wound? As you’re doing life right now are you facing something in your life and you’re like, “Ed, this is unhealable. I’ve got a physical ailment. I’ve got a bad report from the doctor. I’m facing this unhealable wound!”
Are you facing that? Somewhere between here and there, somewhere between A and B, God supernaturally gave Namaan this infusion of Godfidence. He walked with swagger, even with questions, to the Jordan and he bathed seven times. Repetition. Seven times he did what God’s man told him to do. Seven times.
I’ve had the opportunity to pray for people who are sick, people with brain tumors, people with cancer, people with heart situations. Many of those have graduated from this life to the next. I’ve been a part, now and then, of a supernatural healing. I believe God heals. We have to understand that God ultimately heals everyone. I mean, if God always healed, none of us would die. So I believe in healing, but also we have to realize God doesn’t heal everybody. In fact, I don’t think God heals most people physically. He heals some but not most.
You take those steps of obedience toward God, those steps of prayer, those steps in the direction that he takes you. Seven times. Repetition. He got his heart right. What if he would have come up and gone, “Man, I’m not healed of leprosy!” He still did what God wanted him to do and God got him at the right place at the right time.
Maybe, just maybe, you have an emotional wound in your life. Maybe you’ve been the subject of abuse. Maybe you’ve been the subject of betrayal. Maybe you’ve been the subject of something that you totally didn’t deserve. Maybe you grew up in a totally jacked up family and you have these wounds, these scars. And you’re trying to cover the scar issue in your life. You can’t do it. God, though, is the healer of this unbearable wound.
Illus: Let me show you this. I want you to get a close up here. Is that a good camera? See on my forearm, that scratch right there? You see it? No, it’s right here. Wow, we’re having focus problems. Let me come down. Right there… see that? You can’t focus? OK. Well, just trust me. See that? See that red?
I just got a new puppy called a Cane Corso. Most people have not heard of Cane Corsos. They are very strong dogs. They can be extremely aggressive, you have to watch out when you have a Cane Corso, training and all that. This dog’s teeth got me yesterday. I know I’m gonna get healed because my body naturally heals itself.
When I have a wound or you have a wound in your life, emotionally, it ain’t gonna naturally heal itself. That’s when you’ve got to say, “God, I have Godfidence in you. I’m going to march in the direction that you want me to. God, it’s going to be about repetition. Repetition, being in God’s house every single weekend. Being faithful, talking to him regularly in prayer. Being faithful, reading the Word.”
That’s repetition; that’s doin’ the stuff. So don’t expect this healing, either in this life or the next, unless you’re willing to do what? Repetition. Step after step after step.
Somewhere between here and there, somewhere between A and B, God supernaturally gave Namaan confidence. And he had confidence even if he hadn’t been healed.
What are you facing that’s uncrossable? A wall of water? What are you facing that’s unhealable? A wound? But there’s something else.
What are you facing that’s unbearable. There’s a want in your life right now that maybe, just maybe, is unbearable.
Joseph. Handsome guy, young guy, got captured. He was a long, long way away from home. Head of Potiphar’s household. Potiphar is like the head of the CIA. Potiphar’s wife, Hotiphar, this girl was like incredible-looking. For 13 years she tried to seduce Joseph. Thirteen years! And you know it was an unbearable want in his life. Here’s a single guy, in the middle of nowhere, nobody around him, and he’s got Angelina after him every single day.
What do you do? What do you do? What do you do? I mean, I’m sure he felt like, “Well, I’m going to sleep with this girl. Who wouldn’t? I’m a red-blooded Jewish guy! I mean, come on, somebody! Let’s just talk. Boys will be boys, right?”
Isn’t it true in our culture we have forgotten how to think? It’s all about feelings. How do you feel? Even our government. How do you feel? Every entity, the media, the arts, Hollywood… How do you feel?
Everybody is about feelings, feelings, feelings. And feelings are important, don’t get me wrong, but we cannot rely on feelings. Feelings will mess you up. Feelings will lead to fear and pride, not Godfidence.
God does not talk a lot about feelings in Scripture. What does God talk about? Promises. What’s a promise? Philippians 1:6. “Being confident of this, he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
The promises of God stand on three legs, just like this lectern here. This modern-day pulpit. Knowledge. You can’t plead ignorance. You’ve got Philippians 1:6 down. “I just didn’t know, God!” NO, no, no. We know.
Faith. What is faith? Confidence in God.
Third thing, obedience.
Do you think Joseph felt like turning and running away from Hotiphar? Do you think that? He’s probably thinking, “Man, this girl is unbelievable… but, I’m not going to sin against God. I am God’s man! I feel inadequate. I don’t have it within me in myself.”
So he moved in the direction that God wanted him to move, away from Hotiphar. He fled the scene. I’m sure he didn’t just start running. And then, somewhere between here and there, somewhere between A and B God supernaturally gave him what? Godfidence, spiritual swagger, to leave. And what was the result? He got thrown into the pen! Put in prison! Ultimately, though, he became the man.
I’m telling you, this exciting life that God has for us is totally and completely off the chain. Are you facing an unbearable want in your life? What kind of temptation are you dealing with? It could be a temptation of the flesh. It could be a temptation, maybe monetarily. It could be a temptation to do something that you know in your heart of hearts is contrary to the will of God. You move in the direction that God has placed in front of you and I’m telling you, he will give you the swagger to do it.
Don’t let fear jack your swagger. Don’t let pride jack your swagger. I’m God’s man… I’m God’s woman… for this situation.
A lot of you today need to get saved. Pardon my English, but you need to get saved. Rescued. You’re here in this campus, or one of our many other campuses, you’re going to watch this on television nationally, internationally, it’s going to be online. Many of you need to get saved. Well Ed, how do I do that?
You simply get saved by saying, “God, you know what? You’re God and I’m not. God, I’m your man. I’m your woman. I know you’ve gifted me but I’ve been trying to define confidence through power and possessions and pleasure, and it’s not working.”
Because if you’re prideful or fearful, and we’ve all dealt with these things, we deal with these things, we’re not Godfidence. We’re insecure. “God, I want your security. God, I want Jesus to come into my life and rescue me. I’m drowning, God. Jesus, rescue me.”
You can pray that prayer and I will help you do it.
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]