504: The Pursuit

Uploaded by TFHNYtv on 15.01.2013

Pierre: So in this moment,
come on, let's all pray together.
Father God, I thank You that You
are great. You are awesome, magnificent,
glorious, faithful, powerful,
almighty God that loves us like
no one can. Thank You in our tantrums
and in our failures, in our successes
and our ups and our downs. Your love
never changes. I'm so grateful that
You are here. Thank You, Holy Spirit,
that You are here to break open the
word of grace to us that our ears
will not hear, but our hearts would
hear, oh God. And that we would
respond to what You are saying to us.
We bless You and praise You right now
oh God. In Jesus' name.
And everybody shouts, Amen!
So it is 2013 and I don't know about
you, but I am so thankful that the
Mayans miscalculated the day of doom.
Come on! You know what is funny?
I laughed at it the whole time.
My kids would have some conversation
with me and go like, are we really
going to die? And I go like, phew,
we're not going to die! I hope we're
not going to die! You know when you
like, laugh, and yet you think?
And on the night that the world was
supposed to come to an end, my family
was asleep. We were in a hotel
vacationing together. And I prayed,
I really did. I go like, Jesus,
apparently we're coming home tonight.
So I pray, make room for us. That
next morning when I woke up, I woke
up first. And I've got to be honest
with you, I was so relieved that the
world was not done yet. Somehow I
was a little bit more thankful for
2013 than any other year that I can
remember. Because we should never
forget that every year is a gift that
God is granting. And we should never
consider that we may only have this
year to our disposal as a gift.
And we should never live life like
we have lots and lots of time.
That's why it says teach us to number
our days, that we will live wisely.
But here's what I want to tell you.
Every single turn of the year it opens
a window of time where we gain elevation
and become introspective. They call
it new year resolutions. And it is
birthed out of a natural tendency of
human beings, every time we start again
we ask questions about how we just
ran the previous race. Those questions
are very important questions.
I am all for those questions.
Because you see, I do not believe
any of us should live an unexamined
life. It is too precious to live
that way. But yet, it could be
dangerous if we measure the wrong
things. If all you measure is your
bank balance and your fame, it is a
waste of time to measure your life.
If all you measure is how you are
doing against other people, in other
words you want to go back to your
high school reunion and not look
stupid, that's a waste of time.
Because you see, God has a different
path for every, single person in
this place. No two paths are the same.
There is no person you can weigh me
against. Because God doesn't make
two of me with the same path and the
same dream. Aren't you thankful for
that? That's the only way that I
can celebrate your path, because I'm
not running against you. I'm running
against me. I am the only one in
my race. But you see, I think there
is an even more important question that
should be asked. I think the question
that should be asked really is this,
am I becoming all that God wants me
to be? Am I truly growing to the full
extent of what God has in mind?
And secondly, am I doing what God wants
me to do? That is the question.
But I think there is a louder question
that I asked myself in the beginning
of this year. I had an interesting
conclusion to last year, so this
question was very loud and this
question this year was this:
Is it well with my soul?
And by soul, there is an interesting
Greek word. It is "breath".
Invisible breath. But it has life-giving
power to it. In other words, it is this
which occupies my body that gives it
life. Because you do know, the moment
that breath is extracted from us,
this is dust. It is very useless
without the life-giving breath.
And the question is this:
Is it well with your soul?
You see, the reason why I think that
question is so important is because
we treat our spirits as a segment of
our lives. So often I would have a
conversation with somebody and
go like, how are you?
And they go like, awesome!
I drink vitamins. I eat vegetables.
I eat the right things. I drink lots
of water. I exercise. My body is
awesome. And my soul--I read good
books. I don't watch too much TV.
I keep my emotional side unoccupied
by junk. All the emotional suckers
I keep away from me. My emotions are
amazing. But my spirit life is a
little bit anemic. I don't read the
Bible as I should. I don't know where
it is. I don't pray as much.
It is not all that it is.
You know what you are telling me?
That your spirit life is a compartment
in your world. What if I tell you
that your spirit life is the arena where
everything else plays itself off in?
What if I tell you, you are are a
spirit being and there is nothing that
can truly flourish if the arena of
your life, which is spiritual,
is anemic, depleted, and dying.
You say how is that true?
Well, there's a beautiful scripture in
III John. And I'm going to encourage
you to read this with us out loud.
Come on. Our TBN audience, it's going to
come up on the screen in your living
room. Read it out loud with us.
It goes like this. Come on, everybody!
Now that word, soul, is exactly
the Greek word that talks about
breath that is life-giving.
In other words, he says as the breath
in you, your spirit, prospers, so I
pray that everything else in your life
will prosper. So I think the starting
point really is this: If it is well
with your soul you can expect
well-being and prosperity everywhere else.
But for some, we don't even make
new year resolutions anymore. For some
we come to a new year and we just keep
going because we have been wrestled into
submission. We almost align with this
comic character that we have in
America called Popeye.
Remember Popeye?
♪ I'm Popeye the sailor man!
Popeye is a simple, gentle giant.
I think he's got third grade.
He loves spinach.
He loves his girlfriend, Olive.
But Popeye had a phrase.
Every time he's frustrated or unsure
he would say this: I am what I am.
Actually, he said it this way:
I yam what I yam. Right?
Come on, let's try it.
No, no, say yam.
I yam what I yam.
Actually, it is a liberating phrase.
Because your wife says, why didn't
you bring me flowers? You go like,
you know I forget things!
I yam what I yam!
High five. Saved your marriage.
Come on, say this with me:
I yam what I yam.
No, out loud! I want you to be free.
Say I yam what I yam!
It's an awesome statement, but it's
a very sad statement. Because you
know what it says? I'm stuck with me.
And me can never change.
I can never grow.
I can never expand.
I can never be different.
You married me this way.
Now you're stuck with me this way.
If I cannot grow in grace,
if I cannot expand,
if there is not more to the person
you see here today, it is a sad
day on this planet. Because I believe
with all my heart I have not even
begun to reach into the picture that
God has for me to become. Because every
time my kid says, well, I don't want
to do this, and I don't think I can
do this, I go like, you're kidding me!
You live in America! You can be
president! Not only can you do that,
but you can do that, and that!
Why? Because I see the potential
that is inherent in you!
You may not see it, but I see it,
so don't give me that! I am what I am
business. I'm going to make sure that
you become everything and all that I
see in you. And you can take that
to the bank! (applause)
So where does it leave us?
Well, there is a Danish theologian.
His name is Kierkegaard.
He wrote a very simple prayer and
it goes like this: And now, Lord,
with Your help, I shall become myself.
And now, Lord, with Your help,
I shall become myself.
What does that even mean?
Well, certainly it is not the self
that I see. It is the self that God
holds. He is saying, God, you hold
a picture of me. And with Your help
I'm going to become that picture of me.
What is that picture? Oh, there is
a beautiful scripture in Ephesians 2:10.
And I want you to read the first five
words. But I want you to read it
astonishingly loud, that you actually
impress yourself, okay? I want you
to shout it out because it is talking
about you. Here we go. Are you ready?
Come on, let's read it.
I want you to make it personal.
Say, for I am God's masterpiece.
Come on, everybody.
I love that!
I'm God's masterpiece.
Recreated in Christ.
One translation says I am the
handiwork of God, the workmanship of God.
Another translation says a fine piece
of art made by God. In other words,
in God's eyes, you're a masterpiece!
And I know when you look at yourself
in the mirror all you see is the
outside appearance. And I want you
to know that there is more to you
than the sexy self that is standing in
that mirror. It is only a taxi!
This is only the taxi. There is
more to you. And everything about
you is a masterpiece. And I've got
to tell you a story to lead somewhere.
In Rome, St. Peter's Basilica, there
is a masterpiece that was created by
Leonardo da Vinci when he was 24 years old.
They are going to bring it up on the
screen so you can see what it is like.
It is called the Pieta. It is Mary
holding the crucified Jesus. It is
the only piece carved out of marble
where Leonardo put his name to
the piece. Now listen, check this out.
There were no power tools.
There were no lasers.
This is hand carved, hand made.
Now what is interesting, the 21st of
May, 1979, a Hungarian-born geologist
called Laszlo Toth. He went into
St. Peter's Basilica one afternoon
concealing a sledgehammer. He ran
to the front and jumped up on that
art, on that masterpiece. And he began
to deface Jesus in that masterpiece.
And while he's doing this he's shouting,
I am Jesus, I am Jesus. He was
destroying the masterpiece. You say
what does that have to do with us?
I'm going to tell you exactly. I think
there is a parallel. Because that
is Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece.
I am God's masterpiece.
You are God's masterpiece.
Like there is a crucified Jesus in
that masterpiece, the Bible teaches us
that we carry the image of Christ in
this masterpiece. And as there was a
Laszlo Toth with one purpose, to destroy
the Christ and the creation, I want
you to know that my life and your life
are surrounded by Laszlo Toth's with
sledgehammers trying to deface the
creation of God in us and around us.
And we are constantly being bombarded
to destroy the creation, the masterpiece
of God. Oooh, this is going to go
somewhere. So let me tell you how
he does that. You know that we have
a body. We have a soul, which is
your mind and emotions. But you are
not your mind and emotions. But don't
tell your wife that when she is angry.
I tried it; it doesn't work.
And you've got a spirit man on the inside.
Let me talk to you about how the assault
works on our bodies. And I've got to
say this: I'm guilty. So I'm speaking
as a guilty, convicted man, that is
thinking seriously about what I am
about to tell you. It is amazing
when people threaten our property.
If somebody scratches your car you don't
go like, oh, scratch away! No, you get out
and you go like, whatchu tryin to do!
You know what I mean?!
When it comes to this, that God has
given, we don't resist the assault,
we join the assault. We drink gallons
and gallons of liquid, unrefined sugars.
And every time you drink it, you
laugh and think it's funny. But it is
shortening your life. We drink and
we eat absolute junk. And in our
culture, we love it. We go like,
oh, I like everything that's bad.
But you're going to die 10 years younger
and you're going to miss 10 years of
purposed destiny. You're going to arrive
in heaven and God's going to go like,
why? I truly believe that if Jesus had
to come to the earth He would talk
to us about our bodies. You know why?
He calls it holy. He calls it a temple
where His spirit resides. He says
anybody who scars the body, the temple
of the Holy Spirit, is going to deal
with God. Yet, we don't exercie.
We don't care. And could it be that
you are 30 pounds away from your
destiny? Could it be that right
now the way you treat your body is
holding you back? Do you understand
that if this breaks down, what I'm
doing here is over with? Do you
understand that all that I do is
carried by this. All that you do
is carried by this. And I think that
God wants us to re-establish a
commitment and a covenant with Him
that we will not join the assault,
we will resist the assault on the
masterpiece of what He has given us
to be curators of. But then it comes
to our soul. Chad, if you can come
help me. Now the way to explain
your soul to you, I've got to use
a bucket and a drill. Now, imagine
our lives are like this bucket.
Your soul has content to it.
The Bible says we contain, almost
like water. Have you ever read the
Bible? It says, out of your belly
shall flow living waters, bubbling out.
And what happens is we get depleted.
You've been empty.
I've been empty.
You just can't anymore.
All of the sudden you have no grace.
Everything hurts you.
Your kids, the noise around you hurts you.
Because you're depleted.
Your soul is depleted.
You go on vacation and you feel
restored. You come back and you're back
in life two hours and you feel
depleted again. I'm going to tell
you why that works. Because you see,
I believe with all my heart there is
an assault on our soul. There's
external and internal things that are
coming against us. An external thing
that comes against us is the speed,
the consistent,crazy speed we are
living life. Have you ever seen
that game, crazy bat, where you
put a baseball bat in front of your
head and you run in circles? Have you
seen it? Go on YouTube, it's okay.
You run around in circles.
I've watched hours of that.
Circles, circles, circles.
And then people go like, run there!
And they run and they hit their heads.
And it is awesome. But that's how
we live. We are intoxicated with
busyness, the stresses of life.
There are so many external things
that come against our souls.
Then there are the internal things,
the compulsions, the insecurities,
the secret sins, the things in our
lives. We can turn this monitor down.
And all of the sudden we find our souls
are leaking. It's like that song:
♪ There's a hole in your bucket
♪ Dear Liza, dear Liza.
All of the sudden we find our hearts
and we are constantly leaking life.
We are constantly feeling empty
and depleted. Why? Because you're not
dealing with the broken places.
You're not stopping long enough for
God to touch the fractures of your soul.
You don't want to deal with what
you don't want to deal with. But
not realizing your soul is leaking.
The secret sin of your life nobody
knows. But it is destroying. It is
emptying your life every single day.
And I don't know about you, but I
think God wants to do something
about that. I believe, because He is
a good God, He looks at that and says,
no, I have a plan for you, says God,
to transform and change the leakiness
of your life. Thanks, Chad.
Then there is a third thing that God
wants to do. He wants to touch the
assault on our spirits. You say what
does that even mean? You realize you
have an enemy, right? And it is not
the government. It is not the tax man.
It's not your neighbor.
The Bible says Satan walks around
your life like a roaring lion
fierce with hunger, seeking to destroy
you. And the way he can destroy you is
to make sure that you are weak
spiritually. He does not attack you
when you are strong. He attacks you
when you're weak.
So you know what He does?
He makes sure that you cannot find
your Bible for weeks on end.
He makes sure you play dizzy bat and
you're too busy to spend any time
with God but on Sundays for one hour.
He makes time that you never pray.
And you know what the sad thing is for
a lot of you in this place right now
looking at me? You do not know where
your Bible is. The only scripture
you've ever memorized is
The Lord's Prayer, because you're
embarrassed every time they say it
and you don't know it. Yet it is the
only scripture you know. Man shall
not live by bread alone but by every
word that proceeds out of the mouth
of God. And without reading scripture
your inner man gets weak. And the enemy
sees it and he jumps on it.
And I believe that God wants to address
the Laszlo Toth assault in our spirits.
So the way we deal with it is by not
dealing with it in a dangerous way.
I know that sounds totally stupid.
The way we don't deal with it is not
dealing with it in a dangerous way.
Have you ever heard of an avatar?
I'm going to tell you about an avatar.
My son and I play Xbox.
Do you know what Xbox is?
Please say yes.
Xbox in the United States is a game.
It is awesome! So my son and I,
we have Kinect. And we stand in the
living room and we play ping pong.
I love ping pong! You can play
ping pong until your arm hurts, you
know?! And we are getting good.
And you slice, and the whole thing.
We got bored playing each other.
Then he says, dad, you know we can
actually join this online deal and
we can play other people online.
I go like, what do you mean other people?
That means people in their living
rooms, we're going to play against them.
I go, Dude! We're in! So he says
the first thing you've gotta do is
create an avatar. I go like,
what is an avatar. Now he's gonna
take me to the avatar show room and
I'm gonna build a little person that
I want to look like. So when people
look at that, they go like, we can't
play him, he's gonna woop us!
He's a ping pong giant!
So I created an avatar.
Check out my avatar.
That is my avatar! (laughter)
Now what's really awesome about
my avatar is my avatar is good-looking.
My avatar is wearing some metro glasses
that obviously his wife will let
him wear! And my wife will not let
me wear. I can tell you about that
avatar. He's got 30 pounds less
around the waist. That avatar has
no stress fractures, no insecurities.
That avatar never thinks about losing.
He never has a bad day in his life.
That avatar is all I want to be!
But really they are not playing me,
they are playing what I want them to
think I am. You know, some of you
love that chat room stuff. And you've
fallen in love with this avatar
picture of this beautiful woman in
south Florida that really understands
you. (laughter) He's 65 and he's a dude!
He's not even a girl! What is wrong
with you?! You love a dude! Stop!
But you know the sad thing is,
many of us this morning, we brought our
avatars. It was your avatar that
worshiped. When we ask, how's it going?
You're like, oh, praise the Lord,
oh my soul. It's your avatar.
Because the people who work with you
know who you are, and you're not that!
They'll go like, dude, are you smoking
weed?! What just came out of your mouth?
What the? Bless the Lord!
I've never heard that at work.
Your avatar. We have a front life
and a behind-the-curtain life.
And there is an inscription on a
coat-of-arms that says this in Latin:
To be, rather to appear to be.
And I believe it's the conquest of
our hearts for God to pull out of
our avatars who we really are so that
we don't pretend it is fine with our
lives. We can point to what is broken
and trust God to do something in us.
That's why the next 21 days is so
pivotal. Father's House, that's why
the next 21 days could be the most
important days of your life. Because
there's 365 of them. And we want to
set aside time for us to come to God
and to realize. And that realization
is to spend time in solitude and
spend time in these chapel periods,
and spend time just creating quiet
around us. To put the dizzy bat
behind us. To say, I've got so much to
do. But I first need God to deal with
my body, my soul and my spirit.
To come away for your body to be
healed. For you to point to the
fractures in your life. Then to ask
God to bring repair to those fractures.
It may be conversations.
It may be things that God wants
to do in you. But He wants to fix the
leaking of your soul.
And then thirdly, God wants to fill us.
He wants us to realize, to repair, and
He wants to refill us. Because He
says those who wait upon the Lord,
He shall renew their strength.
They will mount up with wings as
eagles. Hey, if you've to crawl
around like a turkey, or, fly like
an eagle, only a turkey will pick
a turkey. It is no choice.
We want to go where eagles go.
The Bible says if you want to go
where eagles go you've got to put
down the busyness and find God and
wait on him. Denis, if you can come.
So I am going to tell you one last
story. Would you turn to your
neighbor and say, you've done fantastic
this morning! Here's the story.
Do not miss this story.
So Moses, you know Moses.
Please say yes.
Moses had a life almost of two
chapters. When I look at Moses
being saved as a little baby, I go
like, Moses, God's with you.
Then Moses was taken up into the palace
of Pharaoh as a Jewish, male boy.
The slaves of Pharaoh are now in
Pharaoh's home. Moses, God's with you.
Moses became the second most
powerful person to Pharaoh.
I go like, Moses, the favor of God
is with you. Then one day Moses
saw a Jewish man and an Egyptian fighting.
And he came to the aid of the Jewish man
because it was his brother. And he
killed the Egyptian. Now all the
sudden Moses is running for his life.
And we find Moses today tending sheep.
I'm not smart,but I can tell you this.
If you're there in Pharaoh's palace
God's with you. If you're tending
sheep in the desert you messed up.
How can God be with you? I've got
to believe that Moses was living
this life in a contrast. I've got
to believe that he was thinking
about all the promises that he has
heard. He's got to think about what
almost happened and will never be.
But the Bible says, then one day,
in the Bible, Exodus 3:1-3. Go check
it out. This is incredible. Right.
There we go. One day Moses was taking
his sheep up on the mountain. Listen.
And an angel, say angel.
An angel appeared in a bush burning
with fire, not consumed. Not God,
an angel. Moses looked at this and
he marveled. Now you and I know what
is coming. Why? Because we read
the rest of the Bible. We know what's
coming to his bush! Imagine if we
would be dropped into the story.
And we time-travel and we stand in
that moment. And we go, this is
awesome! You're such a loser right now!
You think God has abandoned you.
You feel that it's over.
You are confused.
Your soul is leaking.
You hate people.
There's stuff in your heart.
But when you get to that encounter
with God, you have no idea how it's
going to influence your life!
But Moses is not moving.
Cause he's at a crossroads.
Because you see, he too has some
Jewish travel soccer to tend to.
He too has some busyness.
He does dizzy bat just like all of us.
He's got sheep and there's wolves around.
And we see Moses is moving away
from that encounter. And you go like,
Moses! No, no, no, no, no!
Wait! Stop! There! Moses says,
no, I'm too busy. No, Moses! You've
no idea! There! God has a plan for
you! Moses says, God has no plan for
me! I can't even speak. I stutter.
I go like, are you kidding me?!
He's going to give you a new tongue
over there! That stuttering is no
problem for God! Yeah, I don't want
to go there. Because you know, I yam
what I yam. Moses! There is a
God-appointment waiting for you.
But you've got to turn and go to it.
Listen. Scripture says, and Moses
decided to turn and go see.
He didn't get there by accident.
He made a decision to abandon the
busyness of what is expected of him
to go see what is in the bush.
Now listen, who is appearing in
the bush? An angel. Now listen, this
is how it goes. And Moses turned to
go see. Listen. And when the Lord
God saw that Moses turned to go see,
then God came and called Moses from
the bush. And He said, Moses! Moses!
And he said, here I am.
So here's what I believe.
God often sends angels to create
an opportunity for an encounter.
Angels like God's personal assistant.
God says, go see if you can make
an appointment with Pierre. Go see
if you can get his attention.
And I'm living life and all of
the sudden I see there's an
opportunity for God. There's 21 days
of seeking Jesus. There's chapel
opportunities. There's men's gatherings.
There's prayer. There's a prayer
room every, single day. Somehow
I've got to believe it's God's dream.
It's not mine, it's God's. And in that
moment you've got to make a choice.
You're at a crossroads. But I believe
the moment you turn and you engage
the opportunity, the angel says,
he's coming! You better get here
right now! And all of the sudden,
our appointment becomes a divine
appointment. I don't know about you
but I need a divine appointment
with the Almighty God! I don't know
about you but nothing else weighs
more than for me to have a divine
appointment with the living God.
Singers, musicians, you guys can come.
So let me read to you one last
scripture. I love this scripture
in the book of Jeremiah 6:16. Come on,
this is the last one. So let's read
it all out loud. (Reading scripture)
There's a crossroad here with
opportunity. He says, ask for the
ancient paths. The ancient paths
are the simple things of finding
God. That is why we are standing
in this building. You see that we
have created to the best of our
ability, and you will experience in
the chapels, as much of an old
gathering place as possible. And in
the next couple of days we're going
to create solitude, reflection,
scripture reading, prayer. So if
you don't have a Bible, go buy
one at our media store. Go somewhere
and get a Bible. Because you're
about to be rescued by the grace
of God. But you've got to come.
Let's pray together.
Now God, I pray, that with Your help
we will become ourselves the way
you see us. God, each of us in
this place are at a crossroads
of making a decision. God, may we
not dis you. May we not just play
dizzy bat and keep going on in our
drunken state of busyness and
confusion. But God, above all things
that we would set aside 504 hours,
21 days of a very long year to come,
for you to rescue, restore, repair and
refill. Thank You that You hear
this prayer. Thank You that You answer.
In Jesus' name.
And all God's beautiful sons and
daughters shout, Amen!