By Ed Young
December 14, 2014
Education is all about opportunity. When we take advantage of the opportunities in our lives, we experience growth and learning on new levels for our lives.
In the second message of this foundational series, Pastor Ed Young continues to unpack ten powerful lessons that differentiate Fellowship Church and help us discover the greatest lessons we could ever learn.
I thought I’d carry out my specially designed No. 2 pencil. We gave everyone a No. 2 pencil who entered Fellowship today at one of our 10 campuses. Do you have those? Let me see the pencils. Yeah! Even in Miami and London, that’s right. They’re No. 2 pencils. Even in East Texas, Downtown Fort Worth, Dallas, Park Cities. Yeah, one church, 10 locations.
ILLUS: The No. 2 pencil. You know the No. 2 pencil is still the best-selling pencil in the world? I looked it up. I was shocked. And I’m thinking to myself, why don’t they call the No. 2 pencil the No. 1 pencil, because it’s #1? Why do they call it No. 2? Because the lead in it is a specific sort of lead. It’s not too soft, you don’t have to sharpen the pencil too much. It’s just right for those Scantrons, it’s just right to take notes, it’s just right to write with. I love the No. 2 pencil, I really do.
Kids, behind me you’ll see something behind me that some of you probably don’t recognize, a chalkboard. We’re going to the classroom today. I’m in a series, sort of an unusual series, about the church. So I decided to give everyone No. 2 pencils and outlines. Do you have your outlines? We’re going to take some notes.
And here’s the great thing about this classroom. Everyone here will make an A+. Isn’t that great? I think fill-in-the-blank tests are from the devil but we’ve made it easier for you. So I’m going to give you the answers. Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through someone’s lips to your fingertips. We remember 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, like 50% of what we see and hear, 70% of what we write! So that’s why we’ve got the No. 2 pencil and that’s why we’ve got the outlines. Are you ready?
We’re talking about our church and the name of our church is what? Fellowship Church. That’s right. You can’t miss it. Fellowship. Fellowship. Well, it didn’t work. Fellowship. Fellowship is not just something that we are, it’s something that we do. Fellowship.
Here’s the church, there’s the steeple, open the doors, and see all of the fellowship, all of the people. Ten fingers make this thing happen and I’ve been talking about the 10 things that make the Fellowship difference. I’m biased. I think Fellowship Church is the greatest church in the western hemisphere. I think everyone should join Fellowship but there are other great churches around. If you are a member of another Bible-teaching church make sure you stay there. But if you’re not a member of Fellowship you need to join Fellowship Church and you can do that today.
F-E-L-L-O-W-S-H-I-P, the Fellowship Difference. And last time we talked about it. Let me put them up on the side screen. F stands for we’re focused missionally. You can go to Fellowship online and I’ll unpack all of this. E, we’re engaged creatively. We’re made in the image of our creative Creator, thus we should create. L, we love radically. We’ve never locked eyes with someone who does not matter to God. Also, L, we learn enthusiastically. I love that word enthusiasm. En theos, it means in God. O, we’re organized simply. We’re organized simply. Well, today we’re going to finish up the letters of Fellowship. We’re talking about the W-ship!
The W, give me a W! Here’s the blank. We worship holistically. I’ve not signed very many autographs in my life but when I played basketball at Florida State I did sign some autographs. I spent most of my career on the bench but even though I was a bench warmer I still would sign autographs. After games, usually away games, we would emerge from our locker rooms and they would ask every player with a Florida State bag for an autograph. And I would sign my name and usually I would sign Romans 12:1. Ed Young, Romans 12:1. Ironically my number was 12. Go figure. “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of – say it with me – worship.”
So I should be about worship. Everybody worships, everybody does, whether they’re a believer or not. We express our love to something or someone. We learned last time that worship is expressing love to God. We are the object of God’s love. Once we respond to God’s love we become a follower of Christ.
One of the first public aspects of worship is baptism. How should I be baptized? When we have a question we don’t say, “What does history say?” We don’t say, “What do I say?” We don’t say, “What does the culture say?” We say, “What does the Bible say?” It doesn’t matter if you were spritzed, sprinkled, or poured. My wife was sprinkled, as far as baptism, we want to baptize the way the Bible baptized. So here’s why we do this.
Why should I be baptized? It’s a pretty good question. Christ commanded it. I mean, really that’s all I need to say. It wasn’t like an option. He didn’t say, “Well, maybe if you feel like it…”
He said, “Get baptized.” Why? Baptism illustrates something. What’s the meaning? Here we go. It’s the death, burial, and resurrection. That’s what the meaning is. It’s Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
There are two ordinances of the church. Both symbolize the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The Lord ’s Supper, you might say communion, death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism, the death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism is the wedding ring of the Christian life.
The lawyer might ask the question, “Well, technically can you be a believer, can you be a follower of Christ without being baptized?”
Yes. If, though, you can and you’re physically able, get baptized. It’s the wedding ring of the Christian life. If I take this wedding ring off am I still married? Yes! So I can be a Christian without being baptized. However, get baptized. And we’ve baptized people who have been paralyzed, several, from the neck, down. Jesus had to walk like 30-40 miles out of the way just to get baptized by immersion. And that answers the next question.
How should I be baptized? By immersion. By being dunked. I’m not talking about LeBron James, coast-to-coast, no, no. I’m talking about under the water. And we only hold people under the water for about, I don’t know, 10-15 minutes. Not that long. Who should be baptized? Everyone who has believed. So get baptized on the right side of salvation.
Using my wife again, she was baptized as an infant. That’s awesome! When she was old enough to make a faith decision then she was baptized, after … after she had this personal relationship. So you wear the wedding ring after you say “I do.” When should I get baptized? As soon as I have believed.
At Fellowship we’re big on social media. We love social media and I’ve tried to give you some things that you can post on social media. Here is the phrase that pays. Are you ready for it? This would be a great thing to Tweet out or to Instagram, whatever. True worship is not just what happens in here, it’s what happens out there. But what happens in here affects what happens out there.
As a believer, let me say this again, as a believer I don’t come to Fellowship to worship, I come worshipping. The way I deal with the relationships in my life, the way I deal with finances, the way I deal with where I go, what I say, should be an act of worship. Everything I do, say, touch, and feel should be an act of worship. I become a follower of Christ and my first outward expression of that is baptism.
Give me an S! Share generously. I’ve only written a couple of songs in my life. I’ve done some hip-hop videos. You probably know about that. If not you can Google those. I think one of the best songs I’ve ever written, the lyrics are really deep, is a song about sharing. And here’s how it goes, I wrote it for my kids:
“Share, share, share. Everyone likes to share. Sha-a-a-a-a-are! Shaaa-a-a-a-aaare!!!” And then we got the hip-hop version: <busta rap sound effect> “Sh-sh-sh-share! Share share share!” That’s the other one. “Everyone likes to sha-sha-share!”
I love Fellowship Church because we’re a church that shares generously, we share generously. We have such a generous church. Think about it, just think about it. What 8-10 years ago, five services right here, everybody in one house. And sometimes the selfish side of me is like, I wish we could go back to just one location, you know? Have all of this incredible, crazy talent in one place. The music thumping, everything is totally freaked up, it’s just ridiculous.
But here’s what happened. We decided to tap some leaders on the shoulders and start these other campuses around Dallas/Fort Worth, and through just crazy God stuff in Florida. And I was telling some people in between services how the whole London, England thing happened. We weren’t, like, looking for a church in London. It found us. And how that just has transpired and it happens and it happened and it will happen because of your outrageous, contagious generosity.
Our church is very generous. If you look at people who are generous you’re looking at people who are mature. We share generously. “Share, share, share…”
2 Corinthians 9:6, 11, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly.” I mean, if I drop a few little seeds I’m not going to expect to reap generously. If I sow seeds sparingly I don’t expect to reap generously. But if I sow a bunch of seeds generously I’m going to reap generously. Am I going too rapid for people? No, I think you’ve got it. So “Whoever sows sparingly reaps sparingly. Whoever sows generously reaps generously. You’ll be enriched, whoa, in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion. And through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
Here’s what’s so interesting about generosity. It reflects the character of God. Why, why do people have this desire for generosity? It’s because of God. Even if you’re not a follower you have this… man, I want to be generous. Especially around the holiday season or certain times, birthdays, I want to bless somebody. I want to give somebody something. Somebody give somebody something. We have this desire. Well, it’s from God.
It also builds the church. I’m talking now about Biblical generosity. It builds the church. The only thing Jesus ever built was the church. Schools are great, hospitals are great, all that’s great, 501(c)3’s are great, charities are great. Guess what? They’re not the church. The church is the ultimate. The only thing that will last forever is the church. Here’s the church, there’s the steeple, open the doors, see all the people. And they’ll last forever and ever, amen.
Also, it breaks the back of materialism. When I’m generous, I don’t know about you but I struggle with materialism. And if I didn’t give generously I would think the stuff I have is my stuff. Guess what? My stuff ain’t my stuff. You might think your stuff is your stuff. All you got to do is die, ‘cause you ain’t going to bring your stuff with you to the next side. So your stuff ain’t your stuff.
ILLUS: Fifty dollars. It’s a lot of money. I mean, $50, you can do a lot of stuff with $50. I wish somebody would hold this $50. Would you mind holding this for me? Thank you. Just hold it. I’ll ask for it back in a second.
Everything I have is God’s. God’s a generous God. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave…”
So when I give I’m like God, I’m reflecting his nature and character. I’m building the church. Isn’t that awesome? And I’m breaking the back – boom! – of materialism. If not, I think it’s all mine.
I’ve met people who don’t have very much and they’re generous. I’ve also met people who don’t have very much who have the poverty miser mentality. On the other hand, I one time spent the night on a yacht years ago with somebody who’s worth a bunch of money. Selfish as all get out! I like that word, selfish. When you’re selfish you’re self smells like a fish.
I also know somebody who has a large portfolio. He’s very generous. So materialism begins where your income ends. You understand that? If you make $50,000 a year, other people that make 50 grand a year, they’re not materialistic but “oh, you make $300,000 a year? Girl, you’re materialistic. If I had that money I wouldn’t be spending it like that.” Isn’t that interesting?
Now can I have the money back? Yeah, thank you. See how quickly she gave it back? Boom! That quick. Why? It wasn’t hers. God says, “Here. Here’s a pile of stuff I’ve given you. Return to me, as a minimum worship requirement, 10%.” It’s not ours.
Do we do that? Do we say, “No man, that’s mine!” Share, share, share. Yeah, it’s that treasure test. And in my life and in the lives of so many people I think it’s one of the biggest tests that we have. Because money is personal, it’s personal.
So here’s the cool phrase. We don’t get to get. Some people get to get. You know them, I do, too. I’m just getting to get. No, we don’t get to get. We get to give. We don’t give to get, we give to live.
Some people, and there’s this kind of crazy theology out there that’s not biblical. It says, “OK, if you give I’m going to give because when I give God’s got to give back to me. I mean, he’s got to give me. OK, I give God fitty… he’s going to give me $500, $5,000, maybe $5 million! God’s like an ATM machine, he’s a genie, the UPS boy. God’s there for me.”
No, no. We give to live. God says he’s going to bless us. Sometimes it could be financial but more often than not it’s ways that money can’t even touch. Give generously, give to live.
Give me an H! I mean, you guys are on it today! Even though it’s during the holiday season. I’m a little bit tired, too. Frazzled… we’re on it! Another thing about Fellowship Church, we honor, we honor Biblically. We have a culture of honor. We honor biblically. Let’s bring honor back, what do you say?
At Fellowship I’m so excited because you guys bring honor back. What am I talking about when I say honor? I’m talking about God’s chain of command. When I’m talking about honor I’m talking about authority issues. Everybody deals with authority issues. God has placed authority figures in our lives to shape us and to mold us into the kind of people that God wants us to be.
There’s authority everywhere. There’s authority in the family, there’s authority in marriage, there’s authority at school, authority in the corporation, authority at the box where you do CrossFit. There’s authority on the golf course. There’s authority everywhere.
So if I’m going to understand how to go to a whole ‘notha level I’ve got to get under the authority to go up. It’s just the opposite of what our world says. Our world says, “man, I’m not going to honor you until I respect you! Well you might not ever respect this person.”
We have to honor the person because of their position. So God is using someone, even though the person is unfair, to make you into the kind of person God wants you to be. I’ve had many people in my life over the years who were unfair, who were in authority over me. I didn’t like them and maybe they didn’t like me or whatever. Now looking back I’m like, thank you, God! You used those people to make me into the kind of person I am today.
Hey kids, I’m talking to you. Hey moms and dads, I’m talking to you. Husband, I’m talking to you. Wife, I’m talking to you. Boss, I’m talking to you. Co-worker, I’m talking to you. Pastor, I’m talking to you.
Romans 12:10, “Outdo one another in showing honor.” Who do we honor? Well we honor God. You’re God, I’m not. God, I honor you. We honor others. And Fellowship has this culture of honor. And then you’ll honor yourself. So often we can’t honor God or honor others because we’ve never honored ourselves. But it starts with God, segues to others, then – boom! – to ourselves.
Are you honoring people? You go to a restaurant after this service, guess what? You’re under the authority of the owner of the restaurant. And you’re under the authority of the manager and under the authority of the server. You’re under the authority. You go and work out at Gold’s Gym, where I’m a member, you’re under the authority of the manager. You’re under the authority of maybe someone trains you, or maybe you work out on your own like I do?
I mean, there are authority structures everywhere. So we need to get under those things God has put over us so we can get over those things God has put beneath us. And that’s the phrase that pays. Get under those things God has put over you, so you can get over those things God has put under you. So what I’m saying is to go up, you’ve got to get under. And this is the upside-down world of God’s kingdom. If you want power and control you’ve got to give up power and control. That’s when you have real power and control. It comes from God.
Give me an I! We inspire. I love that. One of the things about Fellowship Church, we’re inspirational. We inspire strategically. We inspire strategically.
Hebrews 10:25, “Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing but let us encourage one another…” It’s amazing how many ‘one another’s you’ll see in the Bible. Love one another. Serve one another. Pray for one another. Honor one another. One another, one another, one another… buppp-buup.. I almost went into a song right there. “Let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the day approaching.”
So what do we do? Here’s what we do. Here’s spiritual maturity. Here’s what it means to have a deep walk with God. It’s simple. It’s not complex. We want to make the simple complex. No, no… it’s simple. I didn’t say it’s easy, it’s simple. Working out, being in good shape, it’s simple. Eat clean, do cardio and strength training. You’ll be in great shape. Well how do you become in great shape spiritually? Here we go.
Seeking, not reeking. I become a believer, then I seek God. And here’s some homework. I want you to spend 10 minutes a day in a chair somewhere alone with the Word of God open, and I’m telling you, God will speak to you. Just read and talk to God in prayer. I promise you He will speak to you. It could be in a Lay-Z-Boy. It could be in your study, it could be at your desk. Maybe ladies you’ve got 2-3 toddlers, you might have to lock yourself up in the bathroom. Spend that time, that chair time. Seek God and you will understand what it means to develop that relationship with him. When I don’t do that, when I don’t do that, I reek. And we don’t wanna reek, do we?
Also, we serve. We’re serving, not swerving. We’re serving, not swerving. I’m serving. I’m getting outside of myself. There’s a place for you to serve in the house. Serve. If you’re not serving you’re <braking sound effect> swerving. You’re hydroplaning over something holy. Don’t do that.
Also, sowing, not showing. We spend so much time showing we’re not sowing. We sow our time, our treasure, our talent. Where? The only thing Jesus every built, the church.
We’re sharing, not comparing. We’re sharing what Jesus has done in our lives. We’re sharing our stuff. We’re sharing, we’re generous. Things don’t stick to us like lint to Velcro. They slide off of us like Teflon to the church.
You might be saying, “man, this dude rhymes a lot!” Well, sue me. My mother read thousands of nursery rhymes to me when I was growing up and she said, “Honey, I think I read too many nursery rhymes to you.” But think about the music industry, hip-hop industry. It’s all about alliteration and rhyme. And a lot of the Bible in the original Hebrew and Koine Greek is about rhythm and rhyme. And we remember things when you have that, when you rhyme, on the dime, piece of mind, yours and mine, OK? I can’t stop!
So here’s the phrase that pays. If we aspire to inspire we’ll start a fire! Yes, a fire! And I love the fire at Fellowship Church. It’s white-hot! Have you ever thought about it? Fellowship Church, the church is the only institution whose focus is those who haven’t joined yet? Pretty interesting.
Give me a P! Pray, pray powerfully. Pray powerfully.
Last weekend we had a powerful moment at the end of our services. We had people, even me, most of you were here, to fill out little post-it notes. To just say the post-it note together. 1-2-3, the post-it note. I promise you that will loom large in your life over the next several weeks. Because I’m going to be talking about that in the Magic of Christmas, believe it or not, the post-it note. That’s right, the ubiquitous post-it note.
We had post-it notes. And here’s what I challenged you to do. I said, “Hey, write down 3-5 people that need a touch from God, 3-5 people that need to know Jesus, 3-5 people in your life who need to be here at one of these services. And guess what we did? At the end all of us flooded the aisles, even across the pond in London, even in South Miami, right near South Beach, even up in East Texas. And we just put these post-it notes on the cross, we prayed for them, and then our pastors and staff prayed over them this year. Isn’t that beautiful? It’s a beautiful thing, man. So the church is to be a place where we pray powerfully.
What does it mean to pray? Well, James 5:16, the half-brother of Jesus said, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
Here’s how we organize our prayers. Here’s something I’ve used for a long time. I would challenge you to journal your prayers. While you’re having the chair time, just have some journal time. P-praise God. What does it mean to praise God? God, you’re awesome, you’re amazing. It could be singing to God. It could be just putting God in his right position, which is God is sovereign.
R-Repentance. Repentance. Now in my journal the praise part is real big but when it comes to those sins I write those really small. Sometimes I’ll just kinda do a blanket confession, “I’m sorry when I mess up.” But we should be very specific, because when we’re specific we’ll be prolific.
A stands for Ask. As I praise and repent, then I can ask God. God is not the candy man. He’s not Santa-God. He knows what we need. He understands that. He supplies all of our not greeds but needs, the Bible says.
Then we Yield to him. God, I yield to you. You’re in control. You’re running the show. So here is how I like to say it. We’re always talking about syncing up and stuff. Prayer is man syncing up with God, not God syncing up with man.
That’s so big. Because a lot of us get into those BLTs. I’ll say it again. “Bless me, take care of me, love me. Bless me, love me, I want to hear your tender touch, take care of me, God. I’ll have another BLT.”
And it’s much, much more than that. We don’t just say, “All right I’m going to do what I wanna do and God, you bless it. Oh, I’m going to live like Hell and now, God, you bless it.” No. We say, “God, prayer as I understand it, is I’m syncing up my life with you. Show me where you’re working, I want to join in on it.
T.S. So now we talk about church membership. You know, Scripture talks about members. There’s the body, the body of Christ, and different members. It talks about we’re an army. It talks about being adopted into the family of God. Isn’t that cool? So membership is implied. Membership has its privileges.
Ninety-five percent of the time the word church is used it refers to a specific local church. The book of Revelation was written to seven specific churches. Many of the New Testament letters are the names of churches. So in the New Testament if you were a believer you were a member of a local church. Every team must have a roster. Every school must have an enrollment. Every business has a payroll. Every army has an enlistment. Every country has citizenship. Membership identifies our family.
Wave the pink card, you were given a pink card. This is the pink membership card. This is how simple it is. A lot of people here need to join Fellowship Church. You’ve been hanging out, you’ve been a consumer and not a contributor. You see now it’s time to join. So how do you join? You fill out this card. Name, address, city, state, zip code, e-mail, phone, bench press, vertical jump, 40-yard dash time, interests, whatever they are. Mine would be fishing, fishing, and fishing. So have you been baptized by immersion? Yes? Awesome! No? Well then we’ll baptize you.
Well here’s how to join Fellowship Church. And you can respond by saying I will. Everybody say “I will” after I say the ‘will’ part. I will protect the unity of my church. Will you? <I will.> How do you do that? By being loving to God and others, by committing to using words of encouragement, by following the leadership that is honor in everything.
#2 – I will share the responsibility of my church. Will you? I will, by praying for its growth, by inviting others to attend, by welcoming those who visit.
#3 – I will serve the ministry of my church. Will you? I will, by discerning my gifts and talents, by being equipped to serve, by developing a servant’s heart.
#4 – I will support the vision of my church. Will you? I will, by attending faithfully, by living a Godly life, and by tithing regularly. What does it mean by attending faithfully? What does it mean by attending faithfully? About 3 out of 4 weekends a month, that’s what it means.
And then just read this, sign it, date it. And then when you leave, it’s so simple! You just give it to one of the ushers. They have a little box, bowl, just drop it in there. We’ll process it, you’re a member. Membership has its privileges because you can, I mean, you can live out being a full-court follower of Christ. Because if you’re not a member of a church, again there are about 20-30 things you can’t do to the fullest unless you’re a part of a specific local church. I love my church. I love Fellowship Church. Thank you, Fellowship Church.
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]