What Would Jesus Say To…
February 10, 2013
She’s one of the most popular performers today. Her songs top the charts time and time again. Because of her giftedness and opportunities, she lives on a stage few people will ever experience. But there’s something about her life that everyone can relate to, no matter who we are.
In this message, Landon Pickering opens up the Bible to discover what Jesus might say to Katy Perry. And as we hear about her past and discover what God has in store for her future, we see some very telling lines that are actually meant for our lives.
Well, Good morning, Fellowship Church. My name is Landon Pickering. I’m the student pastor here at Fellowship. I’m excited to be with you guys today. As many of you know, we’ve been in this series with Pastor Ed called, “What Would Jesus Say To…” Well, we’ve been taking a look at different celebrities like Jerry Jones, Kim Kardashian, LeBron James, Lance Armstrong, Ellen. And today we’re gonna wrap that series up with Katy Perry. What would Jesus say to Katy Perry?
And the cool thing about this series is that it has not been about slamming celebrities. It’s really been about just taking a look at what Jesus would say to them. Because in reality, what Jesus would say to them is what Jesus would be saying to us. So today we’re gonna wrap this series up with What Would Jesus Say to Katy Perry.
You know, there are some people in life that are just flat out likeable. They’re just likeable. It doesn’t matter what they say, it doesn’t matter what they do. It does not really matter if you personally know them or not, they’re just likeable. And that’s Katy Perry. She’s a likeable person. I didn’t know a whole lot about Katy Perry. All I really knew about her was that she had blue hair and one of her songs said that she kissed a girl and she liked it. That’s about it. That’s all I knew about Katy Perry. But as I began to do the research on Katy’s life, as I watched her movie – and I would recommend you watching it. You learn a lot about her as a person. What I discovered was that she has this personality, this energy, this excitement that just draws you into her. And I really found myself liking Katy Perry. She’s just a likeable person.
You know, she has this energy and excitement about her. She’s a girl that grew up in a Christian home. Her mother and father were traveling pastors. They went all over the place speaking, and this is what Katy says about her upbringing. “Being a kid in my household consisted of going to a lot of church activities, hanging out with a lot of church kids, and anything that had to do with God was A-OK.” She started singing at the age of 9, started playing guitar at the age of 13. At 17, in 2001, she dropped her first album, it was a gospel album, and it skyrocketed with selling 100 copies. It was a bust. You know, it’s something you can’t Google or something that you won’t find on Google, or something that you may not know, was that same year she was asked out by a young man named Derek Donnelly, who is actually one of our pastors here on staff at Fellowship Church! It’s incredible. That one’s free. Well, thank goodness she turned Derek down because Derek met his wife Candace, who is incredible, and they have a son, Connor. And they are actually at our new Columbia, South Carolina campus, blowing things up there. Derek does student ministry as well.
But Katy Perry, after that, moved onto Hollywood, California where she began to pursue her career in secular music. As we all know she has blown up. She has become huge. It’s incredible what happened in her life. You know, I didn’t know how big Katy had become in the music world. When I think of women in music I think of names like Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, you know, Madonna, Brittany, Madonna. Those are names that typically jump out to you. But Katy has done something that none of those other women have done. She is the only woman in all of music history to have five #1 hits off a single album. Just to put that in a little bit of perspective there is only one other person in all of music who has done that. The Beatles haven’t done it, Elvis has not done it, Jay-Z has not done it. The only other person who has done it is the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson. So, Katy Perry and Michael Jackson, when it comes to that they are the only two people. And what does that say about Katy Perry? It says that people like her. She is a likeable person. They are drawn to her.
But what would Jesus say to Katy Perry? She has this thing that I discovered about her. She loves to be around people. I really believe she has a sincere heart for her fans. She does something at all of her shows. She sends her sister out (this is her sister’s job on the tour) to go find fans to give them free tickets and free backstage passes to come back and hang out with her after the show. She spends time with them. And as I was watching the movie, she is very hands-on with them. She hugs them, she touches them. This lady was pregnant and she was like, “Oh my gosh! Your baby’s kicking!” you know, she loves her fans! She wants to be a part of them, she wants to give them access to her life.
Well, what if Katy gave Jesus a backstage pass? What if Katy said, “Hey, Jesus, come backstage. I want to hang out with you. I want to give you some access to my life.” What would Jesus say to Katy Perry? I think what he would say to Katy might shock her a little bit. Because I think Jesus would say, “Hey Katy, you know what? You and I actually have a lot in common. I see a lot of me in you. And you know, I like that about you, Katy. There are some things that I specifically really like about you.” And I think the first thing Jesus would say to Katy is, “I like your independence. You’re a very independent person. You like to be different. You like to stand out. I can relate with that. When I spent my time here on earth I kind of stood out a little bit. I was pretty independent. I actually did a lot of things that were countercultural. And you know, I like that about you, Katy, because I made you unique. I made you independent. I created you that way.
“But Katy, I’ve got to be honest with you. Independence really comes from a dependency on me. True independence really comes from your dependency on me. You see, when you’re not dependent on me you’re really not independent at all. You’re really just like everybody else. It’s through me. I created you unique. I gave you the gifts and talents that you have. And when you depend on me is really when you discover your true independence.” I think that’s what Jesus would say to Katy. And I think if you and I gave Jesus a backstage pass to our lives he would say the same thing to you and me. I’ve created you. I’ve created you with talents and abilities. I’ve actually created you for independence but your independence is dependent on me.
You know, if you look at every stage of life we’re in this quest for independence. Babies, when they’re born want to be held, right? But the minute they discover they can crawl or walk they’re always trying to get away. In elementary school you want mom or dad to come to class on the first day. I love those moments. But my daughter started 7th grade this year. She did not want me to drop her off at school. There was no way was getting out of that car to go in the class. She was having none of that. She has this quest for independence. In high school we can’t wait to get our driver’s license. Why? Independence. We go off away to school for college, we go off and get married, on the athletic field we’re always trying to separate ourselves, in the business world trying to separate ourselves. This innate thing inside of us for independence is actually a God-given thing. But here’s where things get messed up.
In our pursuit of independence we oftentimes forget about our dependency on God. And when we forget about our dependency on God we step out of the provision and the protection that God offers. You know, Jesus tells this story to a group of people found in Luke, chapter 15. These people, you’ve got religious people and you’ve got people that don’t really know anything about God at all. And they ask Jesus to come and talk to them. They give him this backstage pass. And Jesus begins to tell them this story about a young man. This young man is blessed. He lived in a great home, has a great family, but he has this desire for independence. So what does he do? He asks his dad, “Hey Dad, I want my inheritance. I want it early. Hook me up with the money. Hook me up with my share of the estate.” And the Bible tells us that he goes and he moves to a distant land. And when he gets to this place he does a lot of things. He spends his money, he meets a lot of new people, he has a lot of new experiences, he has a great time doing it as well. But when the money ran out, when the party stopped, when the friends quit coming around he was left with nothing. Because here’s what this young man did. He went on to just pursue his dream, his goal, his own thing. He stepped out of the provision and protection of his father’s house.
You know, in our pursuit of independence we forget that our dependency is on God. And if you want to have the provision and protection of God in your life you have to stay in his house. You have to stay in his house. Jesus would say to us, “Hey, I get your desire for independence. I get it. I understand it. I created you that way. I get it. And because I get it that’s why I set up the church. So that in your quest for independence you would still have provision, protection, and the right direction.” That’s why the church exists. God understands our desires. God understands this urge to make our own way, to do our own thing. He understands and he put it inside of us. But he gave us structure for that within the church.
And you know, parents, this should really get you thinking. You know, it’s great and it’s fine to have your kids pursuing the sports thing. It’s great to have your kids pursuing the music thing. It’s great to pursue the education thing. But if you don’t have your kids pursuing the church thing they’re gonna miss out on the provision, the protection, and the direction of God.
The Bible tells us this in Proverbs 22:6, this is directed to us parents. “Direct your children onto the right path and when they are older they will not leave it.” You know, we work hard as a church to set your kids up for success. Your kids, they need to be in our FC Kids program every week. Every week your students, your junior high students, your senior high students, they need to be at the Mix on Wednesday night like they announced earlier. They need to be there. Because we are working to invest in their lives. We want to show them the protection and the provision but ultimately the direction that God has for their life.
But you know, students, don’t get comfortable because we’re not just putting parents on blast right now. The Bible tells something to you as well. It says this in Proverbs 6:20, “My son, obey your father’s commands and don’t neglect your mother’s instructions.” You see, students, when your parents are pushing you to be involved with the things of church, when they’re pushing you to read your Bible, when they’re pushing you to spend time with God, when they’re pushing you to go to camp during the summer, when they’re pushing you to those things of God, man, don’t take those things for granted. They’re trying to lead you in the best direction for your life. So honor your mother and father.
You know I think Jesus is saying to you and to me and to Katy, the pursuit of your independence is a good thing but only when it’s a God thing. And you know it’s a God thing when it’s built in the structure of the church. And I think Jesus would also say to Katy, as he was backstage with her, “You know, Katy, I really like your creativity. Man, the set designs, the costumes, the word play with your lyrics, it’s all creative. It’s incredible! It takes some great artistry, it takes a great mind to come up with those things. I like your creativity. You know, Katy, I’m a pretty creative person, too. I created creativity. So I like that about you. I did some creative things as well.
“But you know, Katy, if I’m gonna be honest with you still, your creativity, the creativity I have given you, has given you a huge platform. And what I want you to do is to leverage that platform for me.”
You know, I think it’s really easy for us to look at someone who has a huge platform like Katy and say something like this. You know, if I had what they had then I would use it for God’s glory. If I had the talent they had I would start serving. Man, if I had the money they had I’d start tithing. It’s easy for us to look at the things that other people have but God wants us to look at the things he’s given us. You see, Jesus is saying to you and me: I have given you your platform. The position that you have at work, platform. The seat that you have in that class, platform. The position you have on that team, platform. The kids that I’ve blessed you with, platform. I want you to leverage your platform, the platform that I’ve given you, for me.
You know, it doesn’t’ really matter how big or small your platform is. We’ve all gotta get to a point in our life where we say, God, no matter what my platform is, whether it’s on the athletic field, in the classroom, in the church, in the business world, in the home, wherever my platform is, God, I need it to be more about you and less about me. Because if we’re not careful whatever that platform is, again it does not matter how big or small it is, we are all susceptible to what is called platform pride. For when we begin to say, “Hey, the spotlight is on me. This is my thing. I’m in control of this.” When we get that platform pride, any time we say ‘this is my stage, this is my platform,’ when that walks onto the stage, God will walk off every single time. Every single time.
You know, you’ve got this young man that Jesus is talking about in Luke 15. He was blessed. His father did him a favor by giving him these things. And he had a great opportunity to leverage what his father had given him to do great things. But instead, he went off and her partied, and he lived up his life and squandered his wealth because he said, hey, this is my platform. And he forgot that it was the father who gave it to him all along. And he ended up losing everything that he had, and he ended up having to beg to feed pigs.
You know, in Job 20:6-7 it says this, “Though the pride of the godless reaches to the heavens and their heads touch the clouds, yet they will vanish forever, thrown away like their own dung. Those who knew them will as where are they?
You know, we have to realize is that God doesn’t want to compete with our platform, he wants complete our platform. You see, God finds satisfaction in our success. And when we allow God to receive the credit, when we allow God to be the focus, when we allow God to be the center of it all, that’s when we’ll truly understand the purpose of our platform. God has to be in the middle of it. And I believe that God is saying to you and to me and to Katy, hey, I gave you your creativity. I gave you your gifts. I gave you your talent. I gave you your ability. I’ve given you everything that you have. Now, give me the glory. Give me the glory.
You know, church, we’ve got a great opportunity this next week, a huge opportunity, a huge platform if you will, to help other churches extend the reach of Jesus. To enable them, to empower them, to show them what we do here at Fellowship Church. We’ve got a great opportunity that God has given us as a church, a great platform. And you know, what God is saying to you and to me, “Hey, I want to use you on that platform. I want you to be a part of that platform. I want you to help equip these other churches. I want you to come and serve these other churches so together we can unite and we can get the message of Jesus across the world.”
And so today you’re gonna have an opportunity, you’re gonna hear about it later on in the service, you’re gonna get an opportunity to sign up and serve at our C3 conferences next week. God wants you to be a part of it. It’s a platform. You don’t have to ask, you don’t have to go home and pray about it. God’s saying, “Hey, there’s this huge platform that I have provided. All you’ve gotta do is write your name and phone number on a piece of paper and show up.” That’s all he’s saying. Come leverage your gifts, your talents, your personality, the things that God has given you. Come leverage them this week at the C3 Conference. I promise you you’ll walk away and you’ll get one thing from it. You’ll feel closer to God because of it. Because when we serve something supernatural happens in our lives. I can’t explain it, it doesn’t seem normal. You’re thinking, man, I gotta go and work? Something’s gonna happen in my life? No, you get to experience people, the church, united, worshiping God. And it is an incredible thing that will change your life. So come and be a part of it next week. You know, I believe God wants us to use every platform that he gives us for his glory.
And I think if Jesus was hanging out with Katy backstage I think he would say this as well. I think he would say, “Katy, I like your ambition. You have so much drive, so much tenacity. You go all in with everything that you do. It’s incredible.” You know, Katy was dropped from multiple labels until she made it big. She had to work, she had to push through. And I think Jesus would say, “Hey, you and I have that in common. I’ve faced some obstacles. I know what it’s like to have to press through. I get that. And Katy, I like your ambition. But again, Katy, I’ve gotta be honest with you. I think your ambition is great, but I think you’re pursuing the wrong things. I want your ambition to come from the mission that I have created for your life.”
Jeremiah 29:11 says this, “’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope.’”
You see, Jesus has a purpose and a plan for every single person’s life. He has designed you the way that he wants you. Before you ever took one breath on this planet Jesus had a mission for your life. He had a mission for you. But when things get messed up is when our ambition doesn’t come from God’s mission. And when our ambition doesn’t come from God’s mission there will always be something missing in our lives. Always. See I don’t care how rich, I don’t care how famous, I don’t care how good looking, I don’t care how smart, I don’t care how successful you are, if your ambition in life is not stemming from the mission that God has planned for you, you will wind up pursuing things that leave you empty.
We’ve all been guilty of it. We’ve all experienced it. Why do we want to climb the corporate ladder? Because we think it will fulfill us. Why do we want to become the best athlete? Because we think it will fulfill us. Why do we want to make more money? Because we think it will fulfill us. Why do we push our kids to do all of these things? Because we think it’s gonna fulfill us. But the truth is the only thing that will ever fulfill us is the mission that God has placed strategically for your life, the mission that he has planned for your life. And really, what does that mean? It means that we need to trust God.
It all boils down to trust. Do I trust God? Do I trust God’s direction? Do I trust God’s plan and purpose for my life? Proverbs 3:5-6 says this, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do and he will show you which path to take.” You know, I’ve struggled with that in my life, because I’m a person that likes to have control of what I do. I want to control every turn, I want to control every street that I go down to, I want to have control because I think I know what’s best for my life. I’ve struggled with that and I know you do too. We always think that we know best but we have to get to a point where we put our full trust in God’s plan for our life. And something that has helped me, something I’ve learned, to trust in God is this. That God doesn’t really care that much about where I want to go because he’s too concerned with where I need to be.
God isn’t concerned about where I want to go. He doesn’t really care all that much about my plans because he knows where I need to be. He knows me better than I know myself. He created me. He sewed every thread of my life together and that’s the same for you. God knows you. God knows the best direction for our life and he loves us too much not to take us there., not to call us out, not to correct us, not to turn us, not to navigate us. And I think there’s great comfort in knowing we have a God who is concerned with the best for our life. A God who is more concerned with where we need to be than where we’ve been.
Our God loves us. And you know, ambition, it’s a great thing. Having that drive, that tenacity is a great thing but a vision apart from God’s mission is gonna leave you empty. It’s gonna leave you empty.
There’s a king in the Bible, his name’s Solomon. Incredible king, in fact he’s the greatest king that has ever walked the planet. The wealthiest man to ever walk the planet. The Bible says that God gave him wisdom. And Solomon had a ton of ambition. Just read about him. Read about the things that he accomplished, the things that he did. He had ambition. But you know, he stepped out of God’s mission for his life and he pursued the things that he wanted to pursue. And here’s what Solomon said about his life. He says, “So I came to hate life because everything done here under the sun is so troubling. Everything is meaningless, like chasing after the wind.” You know, Solomon failed to find the meaning of his life because he failed to focus on the purpose that God gave him.
As Jesus is telling this story to the people of this prodigal son in Luke 15, this young man gets to a point where he is in the mud, in the dirt, feeding pigs. And he realizes, hey, even the servants in my father’s house have it better than I do. Maybe I can get up and go home and my dad will give me a job.
So he gets up and he goes home, and the Bible tells us that he gets to the road that’s leading up to the house and the father sees him from a distance away. And it says the father doesn’t wait. The father goes and he runs and he meets his son and he hugs him. And he picks him up. Because see, this father, he didn’t care where his son had been. He was concerned about where he wanted his son to be. And he welcomed him back as his boy.
I think Jesus is saying to you and to me and to Katy, “I want you to have ambition but get your ambition from the mission I’ve planned for your life. I created you for a purpose.”
You know, Katy has this tattoo on her wrist and it says ‘Jesus.’ And this is what Katy says about it.
“I got this Jesus tattoo on my wrist when I was 18. Because I know that it’s always going to be a part of me. When I’m playing it’s staring right back at me saying: remember where you came from.
You know, the prodigal son, as he was feeding those pigs, he remembered where he came from. And he went back home.
I think Jesus would wrap up his conversation with Katy and he would say, “Katy, I like that tattoo. That’s my name. And Katy, you’ve got my name tattooed on your wrist, but I’ve got your name tattooed on my heart. And Katy, I want you to come back home.” And I believe that Jesus is saying that to you and to me: Hey, I’ve got your name tattooed on my heart. I don’t care about where you’ve been. I don’t care about what you’ve done. I care about where I want to take you. I want a relationship with you. I don’t want to just be a part of you. I don’t want you to just have a part of me, I want you to have all of it. Because I love you.”
[Landon leads in closing prayer.]