August 24, 2014
The greatest meal in the world isn’t found in a five-star restaurant in the city. It isn’t a home cooked meal. It’s the Bread of Life known as Jesus Christ, and it is best served at the table known as the local church. But that table doesn’t sit idle and alone. It is surrounded by chairs.
In this foundational message by Pastor Ed Young, we discover what the chairs around the table represent. We learn what our role is at the table. And we see how this meal can transform everything in the lives of people who are sitting in those chairs.
What’s up Fellowship Church? How’s everybody doing? Y’all doing OK? Let’s do a big welcome to all of our different environments. How are you guys doing? Please be seated.
ILLUS: You know, a while back I got in touch with my feminine side and traveled with Lisa to Canton, Texas. Canton, Texas is the home of the largest flea market in the world. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there or not, guys, but the demographics are pretty crazy, 99% female to about 1% male. And the guys who are there, I think most of them are in the dog house. That’s why they went to Canton accompanying their wives or girlfriends, whatever.
Anyway, while in Canton, Texas Lisa and I had done some shopping for a while. And the people watching is just ridiculous. Frenzied females pushing shopping carts at a NASCAR-type pace in triple-degree Texas heat, back and forth, looking at all the different knick-knacks, and all the crapola and all the chochkies that, you know, that people, well that women enjoy shopping for, hunting for. Guys, it’s the way they hunt. Women hunt. They’re better hunters than we are. So I’m watching this and looking at people and after a while we got hungry, really hungry. So I said,
“Honey, let’s stop and get something to eat.” So we found a food court. “Food court” – I put that in air quotes, food court which was basically several picnic tables creatively arranged in the shade. We ordered some chicken sandwiches, sat down at the picnic table with several other patrons, and began to munch on our chicken sandwiches. After a while we just relaxed, eating our sandwiches, watching all the people, hunks of humanity pass by. And then a lady came up to our table, obviously from the chicken restaurant, wearing the chicken restaurant’s uniform. She had her tray with her. There were samples of the chicken sandwiches we were already eating. She began to try to serve those to us and we said, no thank you. Then we watched her serve the other people, who obviously were eating the chicken sandwiches from her restaurant, the samples, and they said no thank you. Lisa turned to me and she said something that I’ll never forget. Brilliant. She goes,
“Ed, isn’t that hilarious? All that girl has to do from the chicken restaurant is walk about 20 feet out from the shade into the heat, serve the samples of the chicken sandwiches to hunks of humanity who are filing by, drawing them to the chicken restaurant, and the whole thing would just explode, wouldn’t it?” And I thought, wow, you’re right!
Then I began to think about it. I said, “That’s the problem with so many churches. That’s the problem, Lisa, with so many followers of Christ. We’re content to hang out in the shade with the picnic people, we’re content to feed the already-full samples of the Savior instead of making sure they’re fed, leaving the shade, walking out into the heat, braving the elements, and serving the Bread of Life (John 6:35) to hungry hunks of humanity who are passing by.”
Are you a picnic person? Are you a server just serving samples to the already fed? Are you getting full and fat or are you – good question for me too – leaving the shade, getting out into the heat, and serving the Bread of Life to people who obviously haven’t eaten yet? The church is a table where people come to get fed. Say it with me. The church is a table where people come to get fed.
And Fellowship, I want to applaud your faithfulness, I want to congratulate you on understanding this vision and value from the pages of Scriptures. Because this is what the church is all about. Jesus said it and I’ll repeat it again, John chapter 6, verse 35, Jesus said, “I am – I am the Bread of Life.” Carbs are good. Jesus was basically saying I am the cosmic carbohydrate. When we serve this cosmic carbohydrate (and remember carbs are good) we take this and we eat it.
But let me just challenge you to work with me for a second. When it comes to the table, when it comes to the church, because remember the church is a table where people come to get fed, when it comes to the church, when it comes to the table, we’ve got to think through what we’re doing. And it’s fascinating. I’ll talk about this a little bit today and even more next week how many times the metaphor of the table is used throughout the Old and New Testament. That’s a different talk, this is part 2. But it’s vital that we understand it. When we think about the table you’ve got to think about several things.
First of all you have to think about the invitation. Yes, the church is a table where people come to get fed, but you’ve got to invite people to come to the table.
I posted this on Instagram and also I Tweeted about this. My wife is a great cook. Lisa is a gifted host. She has the gift of hospitality and that’s something that the Bible commands. I have a message on that I did years ago on hospitality, I need to do that again. The Bible commands hospitality. Lisa is very hospitable. When we have someone over to our house, I’m not going too fast are we? But we invite the people. We invite the person to come over to our house, either by text, e-mail, call them on the phone, talk to them face-to-face, which is something really cool. We invite them to our house. When they receive the invitation they either choose OK, I’ll show up, or not. Most people say yes.
We’ve lived in all sorts of places in 32 years of marriage. We’ve lived in little apartments, we’ve lived in track homes, we’ve lived in larger homes, we’ve lived in different places. We’ve lived out in the country, we’ve lived in the city, and most of the time people say yes.
It takes work, doesn’t it, to entertain? Have you ever thought about that? That’s why so many of us kind of shy away, do the pushback when it comes to hospitality. It takes work. You’ve got to work to entertain. And the whole word entertain is a great word. It’s not a bad word. The church should be a place of entertainment. The church should be a place of innertainment – i-n-n-e-r-tainment for the heart. Jesus captured and held people’s attention for an extended period of time. I just gave you the definition of entertainment. We are in the entertainment business, but we’ve allowed Las Vegas, we’ve allowed Hollywood, we’ve allowed the theater (and that’s fine and dandy) to steal that from the church. And somehow the church has become boring. It shouldn’t be. But the question I ask is who are you inviting? Who have you invited to the table?
ILLUS: A while back I went to Fellowship, my home church, and I was not speaking. So I decided just to go by myself and drive with the normal pedestrians, not the pastors, to church. I followed the line of traffic and pulled in and I just sat there. This was right before the service starts. And it’s funny how many people show up right when the service starts or about 15 minutes late. But that’s a whole ‘nother discussion.
I was sitting there and I was watching all of these people walk into Fellowship. And I’m thinking to myself, whoa. This is just one of our campuses. This is our central campus but, whoa. Just think. It’s almost like, if you wanna carry this metaphor deeper, it’s almost like a franchise. You know we have restaurants, tables all over the place, but I was sitting there just watching people file into Fellowship. Some I’d never seen before, different walks of life, different backgrounds, different socioeconomic levels, different ways they dress, different ethnicities. And that’s beautiful. That’s what the church should be about. I love that. That’s why I love our church. But here’s what I started to think about. I said, oh, I know that family! Wow, they’ve been at Fellowship Church for five years. I know that couple. I know that student. I know… and so many of the people that I was pointing out to myself were walking into Fellowship Church alone. They didn’t have anybody with them. No friends, no classmates, no teammates. I didn’t see any neighbors. They were alone. And then I thought to myself, well maybe I caught them on a bad day. Maybe I caught them on a weekend where they’re not bringing people to the house, to the table. I know people you don’t know, you know people I don’t know. And Jesus commands us – it’s not an option – to go.
Matthew 28, go, this word ‘go’ really means as we are living our life we’re to go. We’re to invite people. And it’s crazy how many times, countless times, that Jesus invited people, engaged people. Who (if you’re a Fellowship patron), who have you invited recently to this table? Jesus said it in John 4:34, he said, “My food is to do the will of him and to finish the work that he has given me.” The food gives us the fuel, right? To do what God wants us to do. So we have the invitation. Most people are just one invitation away from coming to the table.
Also we’ve got the preparation.
ILLUS: I was at a restaurant two weeks ago with Lisa and the restaurant had this cool music going on. <Beat-box sound effect> You know, one of those hipster restaurants. And it was clean and the food was served in a very thoughtful way and the presentation and all the lights… <beat-box> the music was turned just right. When I saw the kitchen door open and I looked into the kitchen, just for a nanosecond, I heard screaming, “Table 2!,” pots clanging <clanging sound effect>, people going absolutely bonkers. Then the door closed. <beat box sound effect again> AAAaahhh!!!!!! <beat box sound effect again> Kitchen chaos.
Our team here makes it look and makes it feel so amazing, don’t they? It starts when you see the signage. Our signage is just second to none. Then the parkers. Let’s give it up for the parkers who brave all the elements! And the greeters and those with extravagant hospitality in our VIP area. Think about our children’s ministries and the greeters there. Do you know our children, you know when a child visits our children’s ministry we have other children who are trained to take care of those who are brand new? I think about our nursery, our preschool. This is just the weekend! I think about the squillions (let me say my favorite word) of volunteers who work behind the scenes, backstage, and who tweak dials and do so, so much that the musicians and the singers and it just goes on and on and on.
So behind this <beat box sound effect> I’m telling you there’s some, “AAAAAhhh!!! Table 4!!!!!” There’s some crazy chaos! This thing doesn’t just happen in a vacuum. It takes work. Jesus said it. It takes work.
And so many of us, we hesitate when it comes to entertaining because it takes so much work. That’s why, I believe, so many of us as believers in so many churches just dumb it down, make it just for the already convinced. Because when you have guests in your house you’ve got to think about their needs. When Lisa invitees someone over to our house, she’s done this now for 32 years, she asks “what are your likes? What are your dislikes? Any food allergies?”
She is preparing the food, yeah, and feeding our family. We’re not going hungry. Yet the way the house in this context – 30-something years ago the apartment – is decorated, cleaned. The candles, the <beat box> music. The food is served in a more creative and compelling way. Are we watering down the food? Are we being shallow? Are we being forgetful of the family? Heck no! We’re being strategic. We’re putting the needs of our guests above our family. The table. There is an invitation to the table. There is preparation, there’s work that goes on. It’s not easy but it is worth doing what we do.
The presentation is something that you think about. It’s something that Lisa thinks about. The presentation of the food. How are you serving the food? John 6:35, hopefully you kinda know it now. Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life.”
So since I’m the chef I should serve the food in a creative and compelling way. Let me say it again. Since I am the chef I should serve the food in a creative and compelling way. If you ever go to a church and you have a half-baked presentation of the Bread of Life, don’t blame God, blame the chef.
And it’s almost like we go to church expecting a half-baked presentation. Yet because the presentation matters we should serve the food, and obviously it’s team approach here. I’m just the lead chef. We have a crazy good team. Because I’m the chef, the dude with the food, hopefully and prayerfully I serve the food – the Word of God – in a creative and compelling way. The invitation, we’re walking out from the shade into the heat serving samples of the Savior to hunks of humanity who are passing by. I’m the chef, the dude with the food, the dude with the food. That’s pretty funny, serving the food hopefully in a creative and compelling way. Here’s something else. The nourishment from the food gives all of us the ability to do the work that God has placed before us, which is to serve others.
You’ve heard of the term before, deacon. You heard the term deacon before? Oh that church has deacons. They have deacons. I heard someone say, yeah, that church is deacon possessed. I understand that. The word deacon in the original language comes from the word servant, and the picture behind the word is someone who waits on tables to such a degree – read about it in the Greek – they kick up dust. We’ve got a lot of deacons at Fellowship Church. We’ve got a lot of people who are fed, who are nourished, who push away from the table and serve others. They, and you, and prayerfully I, we serve others. We serve others. We serve others. We serve others. So the invitation, preparation takes a lot work, and the presentation. We present the food. We don’t dumb it down, we think it up. We serve the food in a creative and compelling way.
I love all types of food. I love Asian food and there’s a Vietnamese restaurant that I frequent regularly. I don’t speak Vietnamese and thankfully beneath the Vietnamese on this menu, the menu is written in English. I can talk Vietnamese, I can speak spiritual Vietnamese over all of your heads. I’m not going to do that. I want to serve the food in a way that everyone can understand. It’s the Bread of Life.
So stay with me now. I am at the head of the table, I’m the dude with the food. God’s called me to pastor this church. It’s a team thing, yes, most of the people on our team are much more talented than I am. So here I am, serving the food. The Bread of Life. I’m the dude with the food. Or if Lisa is speaking it’s the dudette with the foodette. Or Tianne or someone else.
In chair 1 you’ve got those people who are far away from God. If your church and this church would exemplify what I’m talking about, if your church is an Acts 2, Biblically functioning, prevailing church this chair will be THE chair. The chair of people who don’t know the Lord personally. The chair of those who are far away from God. The chair of those who would be the churched, unchurched.
You see, we got a lot of people passing by who are churched but they’re unchurched churched people. They’ve grown up in the church. They have just enough of Christianity not to catch the real disease. They are people who are Creasters – they come Christmas and Easter – maybe those who come every other week. They would call themselves Christians.
But we know, we really have figured out that they’re not living the life. So chair 1 would be made up of people who don’t know the Lord. And I would have to say that a third of any healthy church, any healthy restaurant or table, should be made up of people who don’t know Jesus Christ personally. A third. When you make this chair, THE chair, all Hell will break loose and all Heaven will break loose. This is the chair that keeps us up at night. We are aware of the chairs, but especially this chair.
“Now, wait a minute, Ed. Are you saying that Fellowship Church is just for those people that are far away from God?” No way! I’m telling you that a Biblically functioning, Acts 2, on-fire church is going to always think about this chair before they think about any of the other chairs. This chair is the chair where the guest of honor sits. To the right.
If you’re seeking, if you’re investigating Christianity, maybe you’re a churched unchurched person. Welcome. You now understand how much we love you and how crazy we are about you. And we love you and we’re crazy about you because the God of the universe is. Jesus started his ministry, his public ministry, when he was 30 years old. He said it’s about the chair. Then right before he ascended to the Father, right before he ascended to Heaven, and now he’s praying for you and me, 24/7, he said it’s about the chair.
Everyone wants to reach the chair until you start having the chair occupied. Every believer, every Christ-follower, every author, every church will all say, “Oh, yeah man! We’re all about reaching people!” but nobody wants to reach people until you start reaching people. Yet they say they want to reach people. But they don’t. All you have to do is look at the stats. So few churches grow or develop by bringing in people who are far away from God.
Most of the growth you see in churches here and across North America would be biological transfer growth. It’s not growth where someone invites someone, where a team has worked like crazy to prepare the food, where a team has worked like crazy to present the food, and this person gives the chair of their life to Jesus. I hate to tell you that, this is a rare commodity what I’m talking about. It doesn’t happen. It should. Jesus said, wow, look! The fields are ripe unto harvest. Look, look, look! Look at the potential! Look at how many people you know that I don’t know… I know that you don’t know. Look at the hungry hunks of humanity who are filing by your life and mine. What are you doing? What am I doing to reach them? We should be the bread. We should have an aroma about us that draws the malnourished here. Are you praying those prayers? Are you having those conversations? Or are you walking into Fellowship Church once again alone?
You will never understand the church until you bring someone to sit in this chair. Never. You’ll never get it. And you will continue to be a malnourished, underfed believer until you invite people to sit in that chair. When you do that you have to think deeper, pray more passionately, create more innovatively. You’ll see why we do what we do, whether it be the pre-music, whether it be our extravagant hospitality, whether it be what we say and what we don’t say when we welcome guests. You’ll understand maybe for the first time why I speak and how I speak, the way I speak. You’ll never get it until you do that. But once you do that it will change your life. Because there is a work that only he can do, but also there’s a work that only we can do. What are you doing? Who are you reaching?
When I speak at leadership conferences and when I do round tables I always ask leaders that question and the room gets strangely silent. I look at pastors and I go, “One question, and we ask it all the time at Fellowship Church, it’s the question that Christian leaders are afraid to ask. Are you ready for it? Who are you reaching?”
We know how to do church. Our team is so awesome we could empty out all these churches around. We know how to do church that way. I know how to speak that way, we know how to do music that way, I know how to do it. I don’t want to reach a bunch of Christians. Well, I should say professional Christians. Professional Christians are really UFOs. They’re unidentified freeloading objects. They move… they are… from place to place to place and they’re all over North America. God has not called me to do that. We’re called to reach Christians, don’t get me wrong. We welcome believers but we welcome believers who understand every chair at the table who make this chair, THE chair.
And if you could ever show me another theology or another text or another way to do church that excludes this chair and only talks about chair 2 and 3, I would love for you to share it with me. Because I’ve gone to seminary, done doctrinal work. I know some of the best Biblical minds around and I have never heard it yet. So if you have a new theology or a new revelation, please come forward later and tell me how to do it, OK?
So why are we here? We’re not here to sin. We’re here to bring as many people as possible with us. This chair has to be THE chair. When you have people over you’re thinking about your guests. If you launch into a story, if I’m at our house and some people have come over.
ILLUS: Just a couple of months ago we had our neighbors over and I began to talk about a story that had to do with fishing. I know that’s a shocker. And I know most people do not spend the time and the energy and the effort that I do on fishing. I thought to myself before I told this story, how can I bring them up to the context of what I’m saying?
“Well, I want to tell you this story. You see I fish in these fishing tournaments and I try to catch this large fish, one of my favorite fish, called the tarpon. They can weigh 100 pounds and they swim in very shallow and clear water in the springtime. And I cast flies to them – fly fishing – flies to them that big and I try to entice them to eat the fly.” That quick I brought all of you into context with the story.
Or I could have said, “I was on the bow of the boat near Conch Key and I went back on my third double haul, presented the fly, did the double hand…” You have no idea what I’m talking about. “Strip struck the fish…” you have no clue what I’m talking about. That quick.
So I can be Mr. Smart Guy pastor and talk over everybody’s head, and you walk away knowing a little bit but you’re kinda confused going, “oh this guy’s deep.” No, I’m not deep. No.
The deepest churches, I want you to hear this, are all about chair 1. Lemme say it again. It’s just the opposite of what the UFOs say, the professional Christians say. Chair 1. When you go chair 1 you’ll be the deepest follower of Christ. The deepest churches are chair 1 churches. The deepest churches are soul-winning churches. The deepest churches are rescue churches because all rescues happen in the deep! They happen in the deep! See, disobedient UFOs have to figure out some theology to appease their disobedience. Chair 1. Chair 1.
Now chair 2 would be those, a third of our chairs should be chair 2, who have stepped over the line. And I’m going to introduce a structure next week that will, I think, blow our minds. A specific structure about how we step. We have this step but I’m going to break it down for you. How do I step from chair 1 into chair 2? How do I become a believer? Because it has to do with the chair. You’re either sitting in the chair or Jesus is. Once we give Jesus the chair we move – boom! – from chair 1 to chair 2. And chair 2 would be those who are brand new believers. Their faith is fresh.
For 24 years, our church is almost 25 years, I’ve heard this line. I was thinking about it as I was praying for this message. People have said this to me. This happened first year of Fellowship Church. Some people would say – and they’re no longer with us – people would say, “Man, I love what’s happening here, Ed. But there’s just so many baby Christians around.”
What a compliment! And see I could stop there and some of you would believe that, what I just said. Oh we have so many baby Christians. Some of you are going dang, that’s right!
When a man and a woman develop and grow they move from infancy, through adolescence. Am I going too fast for anybody here? They have this attraction for the opposite sex. And then they get married and the Scriptures say that God does not say no about sex, he says wait until marriage. You get married, intimacy, and usually, not always, I understand, usually with intimacy you have reproduction. Again, I don’t want to go too rapidly for anyone here. I know in Miami you have no idea what I’m talking about but… you’ve got reproduction. And then you have more intimacy and you’ve got more reproduction.
I’m 53 years old, been married 32 years. We have four children – it’s a good number of children – the result of intimacy, right? Right? Just, yeah, OK.
But lemme go back. “There’s so many baby believers at Fellowship.” Now some of you buy that.
The church is called the Bride. Jesus is the Bridegroom. When you have worship, new songs, old worship songs, you’ve got intimacy. You feel me, don’t you? Between the Bridegroom and the Bride. You’ve got sound, Biblical teaching, you’ve got intimacy between the Bridegroom and the Bride. You’ve got discipleship and fellowship and all the other kinds of ships. You’ve got intimacy between the Bridegroom and the Bride. What’s the result of intimacy? Reproduction! Say it again – reproduction. Let’s give a huge applause for all of the reproduction that’s going on at Fellowship Church and that has been going on at Fellowship Church for the last 24 years, and will be going on at Fellowship Church for the next 25 years! I want to have a lot of baby Christians! I want to have a lot of people who have not been saved or rescued yet.
And the Bible, I believe, states this categorically and unequivocally. A third should be those who are far away from God. A third should be those whose faith is fresh. Fresh faith! They’re fresh! They’re brand new believers.
Now chair 3, oh yeah. The third chair should be made up of those who are spiritual parents, those who are coast-to-coast followers of the Lord. Those who are serving, sharing, and sowing. Hebrews chapter 6, verse 1 says, “Let us leave the elementary teachings behind and let us march on to what? Maturity!”
Hey, guess what, man? I’m mature. I’m 53 years old, I got four kids, I’m an author and a pastor. I’m mature. Yep. I am. I’m just mature. I survive on my own, made my house payments and the car payments and insurance. I’m just mature. Yep. <burp> some of you are like, “Ed, why did you have to say that? You didn’t have to say that, Ed! I mean, you’ve got grey hair! You stopped coloring your hair and you put it out there! You’ve got grey hair! You’re 53! You’re married. You’ve got 4 kids…”
I don’t have to tell people I’m mature. Now I’m immature a lot of times, but you see what I’m saying to you. Because the Bible uses the metaphor of physical maturity with spiritual maturity. This is Bible. So I don’t have to go around, “Oh I’m mature!” No! You just know it. As a believer you don’t walk around and go, “Oh, I just need to get fed.” Whenever you hear that you’re talking to a walking, talking, playpen-dining, nap timing, Gerber-whining baby! I’m not getting fed? That’s hilarious!
We have, at Fellowship, an amazing group of spiritual parents, an amazing group in chair 3, an amazing group of people who serve and sow and share. I cannot thank you guys enough for your unselfishness because it takes a lot of service-driven, unselfish people to grow a great church. Because you know it’s not about me. It’s not about me. It’s not about me. You’re in chair 3. And all you’ve got to do, if you want to know how mature Fellowship Church is, just look around. Do you think this happened just out of thin air? Do you think all this just happens? Allaso Ranch, 10 locations, the stuff we do with our worship. Do you think it just happens? What are you smoking? It happens because of the faithfulness of people in chair 3! Chair 3, let’s give it up for chair 3!
Because you have a healthy ecosystem here at Fellowship Church. Because if chair 3 is doing what they should do, and believe me chair 3, if you’re in chair 3 you don’t have to advertise it. “Hey, I’m mature!” we know who you are. Rolls Royces don’t advertise very much. Have you ever seen, “This is brought to you by Rolls Royce.” A Rolls is a Rolls. Have you ever thought about that? Well if you’re mature in Christ you don’t have to go, “Hey! I’m a Rolls, man!” No, I know you’re a Rolls. You don’t have to say it.
But chair 3, if they’re doing what they should do, which obviously we are, it’s a beautiful ecosystem going on. You’re introducing people, you’re bringing people, you’re inviting people, you understand the presentation and the preparation. They are moving here from this chair, boom! To chair 2. But in chair 2 they’re not just sitting there, they’re not just becoming babies forever and ever, they’re growing. They’re moving on to maturity. They’re moving from infancy through (somebody help me!) through adolescence. Adolescence is something we go through!
Whenever you hear, for the most part, complaints or negative stuff about an Acts 2 church about Fellowship you’ve got to realize you’re talking to a child. You know that, don’t you? Think about your family. Children, teenagers especially, are the most self-centered, self-absorbed people in the world. That’s OK. We accept you but we don’t approve of your behavior. And that’s the same way!
We don’t expect people in this chair to act like chair 3. What if they set forth all the decisions that we made or your family made? We would all be jacked up. We love them and say, that’s OK. Just keep moving on.
And also, teenagers and kids are the first to say, “Well, I don’t like it. I’m going to move in with them because they don’t have a curfew.” Or “they give this amount of money for the allowance” or “they all have this latest technology” and they will move and they’ll want to run away. And whenever people leave the church you’re talking to someone right here. So that’s why we’ve got to be very, very careful because the enemy always puts some bogus believers or some wacky books in these folks’ lives.
And let me tell you something, if we don’t have the bookin our bookstore it’s probably for a reason. Have you ever thought about that? I’m not going to sit here and dissect all the Christian authors and some of them are the sexy and cool people. I’m not going to do it. But hopefully you’re that smart. But in chair 3 we move and we go from infancy, through adolescence, to chair 3! And I’ll talk about those steps next week. And in chair 3 you have this beautiful and effective ecosystem going on. That’s why Jesus’ half-brother, James 1:22, he said, “Don’t just listen to the word, do what it says.” Do what it says. Do what it says.
But oh, way, wait a minute. Before I leave there’s one chair that I’ve not talked about. There’s one chair that I’ve not mentioned. The high chair! Do you know any high chair people? High chair, baby believers. Oh you can smell their dirty diapers. They sit in it. I said sit, Owen. They sit in it. I didn’t say the word you use. They sit in it. And they’re crying. And they’re whining. And they’re sitting there going, “Aaaa-hahahaha! I want my worship! I want more _________! I want somebody to call me! I, I, I, me, me, me, my, my, my! Aaaahhh!!!!!! Aaahhh!!!”
Now, here’s where the chef has a huge decision to make. What do you do? Many people, because the dirty diaper people have money or they’re negative or they’re influencers or they’re mean, and they’ve been sitting in it for so long, many for decades, many pastors (this is why about 15,000 pastors resign a year from church – because of congregational abuse – 15,000 mail it in because of these people).
Here’s what a pastor does. Does the pastor continue to go, “You know what? Let me shove this pacifier in your mouth. You can go to these other churches we’ve built unintentionally in the area, who are full of you, but we ain’t going to have you here. God bless you. We love you. We don’t need you.” And you put the pacifier in their mouth.
Or, most pastors do this. “Oh my gosh! Oh, don’t leave! Don’t cry! Everything will be OK! Please! Don’t go! You have a lot of money, or you’re influential, or you may say something bad in the social media or something. Please don’t go! No, no, no! I’ll change!”
And when we do that we turn our backs on the table and tell our community to go to Hell!
This pastor is not going to tell anybody to go to Hell! We’re not going to be ruled by a bunch of babies! We’re not going to be ruled by a bunch of people who’ve got dirty diapers! We’re not going to be ruled by a bunch of people who say they’re mature but they’re really immature. We are going to do what God has called us to do, and that is to be the table! So it’s time to get out into the heat and serve samples of the Savior to hunks of humanity who are passing by!
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]