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Watch 2022 online sermons » Andy Stanley » Andy Stanley - Not Buying It

Andy Stanley - Not Buying It

Andy Stanley - Not Buying It
TOPICS: Paper Walls, Excuses

So if you grew up in any kind of religious environment, regardless of what kind of religious environment it was, you probably heard something that went something like this, God loves you just the way you are. And regardless of where you are on the religious spectrum, if there is a God, we all certainly hope this is the case, that God loves you just the way. And Christians have always believed this. And the reason Christians have always believed this, is because in the New Testament Jesus modeled this and essentially said this. And of course the most famous perhaps verse in the Bible is John 3:16, which says, "For God so loved the world". And the implication is that for God's will of the world, just the way the world was and that God loved the people in the world, the way that people in the world were before they made any change or knew anything about God. So this is true.

And again, Christians have always believed that, but this is only half the equation because God who invites us to refer to him as heavenly Father or the perfect parent, like any good parent God does love you as His child, just the way you are, but God loves you too much to leave you the way that you are. And as we're gonna discover today, if necessary God like a good parent is willing to hurt your feelings to get you to move on from the way you are, so that you can become everything you could be and everything you should be and everything God knows that you have the potential to be. And that is a good thing. Today, we're in part two of our series, paper walls, moving beyond the excuses that hold you back. As we said last time, there are things that we should carry forward season to season, a year to year.

And then there's some things that we should leave behind. And this series is about one of those things that we should all leave behind specifically, our excuses. Excuses are strange things. Excuses we've said are kind of like paper walls from a distance they seem like actual obstacles that keep us from doing things, that keep us from moving forward, that cause us to lose all kinds of opportunities, but they seem so real, they seem so intimidating that again, we just don't go charging through those paper walls that are actually excuses. From a distance again, they seem like actual obstacles. From a distance, they actually sound like and actually sound like, and we've referred to them as actual reasons.

Now, if you think about it, there's a very fine line between an excuse and a reason. One disguises itself as the other, and then over time in our conversation, and in our responses to people are excuses that sound like reasons, they become our becauses. And all of us, every single one of us have short list or maybe a long list of becauses that we retreat to or we actually hide behind. Why don't you exercise? Because. Why don't you eat better? Because. Why haven't you? Why do you always? Why don't you start? Why don't you finish? Why did you quit? Why did you begin that to start with? Why don't you stay? Why did you leave? Why, why, why, why, why don't you just tell her? Why don't you just tell him? Why don't you just forgive them? And whenever these questions come up we don't... We never say, well, I don't know, because we're rational people we have a reason and our reason always begins with because, we have a list of becauses. But the truth is, and this is what we're gonna talk about for the next few minutes. Our becauses aren't always the causes.

There's a difference between a because and the actual cause. It's an excuse oftentimes that's masquerading as a cause. It's actually just a paper wall. A manufactured cause. And our language with this tips us off as we said last time. And when we catch somebody else, trying to masquerade an excuse as a reason, what do we say? We say, "You're just making stuff up". We say, "You're actually just making excuses". You have manufactured a reason and it's not really a reason, it's a paper wall that you're hiding behind cowering behind, but you're trying to pass it off as something that is real, that's an actual obstacle. And the truth is, and this is kinda where we landed last time. The truth is, and this is difficult to admit that our excuses are really just lies that we tell ourselves about ourselves. And then, and here's the strange thing about human beings. There are lies that we tell ourselves about ourselves and then we believe 'em, we believe those lies and we are so convinced that we can be convincing.

So last time we were together, I asked this pesky question that we're gonna come back to throughout this series and the question is this, is it possible, is it possible, would you be willing to consider, is it possible that some of, not all of, that some of your well-rehearsed reasons, your becauses, are actually just excuses? That some of your go-to becauses are actually just paper walls. Paper walls, constructed of things that people told you, perhaps things that people called you, things that people labeled you. Is it possible that you've actually invented reasons to defend certain behaviors, certain reactions, certain overreactions, why do you always react that way? Why do you always say that? Why do you always respond that way? Because, because, because. Is it possible, is it possible that your reasons, that your becauses, when it comes to your reactions, responses, the fact that you procrastinate about certain things, that certain opportunities you just say no to over and over, is it possible these are paper walls that you have created? And the reason you should answer that question, the reason we should all answer this question is because we need to know.

And there's several reasons we need to know if for no other reason we need to know, because other people know. Other people know when we're trying to pass an excuse off as a reason, I mean they see through that. And the reason you know they see through it and the reason we should assume they see through it, is because we see through it when other people are doing that as well. I mean, other people can tell when you're manufacturing a reason. The other reasons to know is that people who make excuses and you know this, you've seen this, people who make excuses rarely make much of a difference. And you don't wanna get to the end of your life and have missed an opportunity to make a difference because you cowered behind and lived behind something you manufactured and considered an actual obstacle. People who make excuses about anything in life, generally speaking, they rarely make much of a difference. And this is harsh to say, but at the root of a lot of our excuses that we pass off as reasons is a bit of selfishness.

And if you live for yourself, you only have yourself to show for yourself in the end. And then there's another reason why we should face up to the fact that we're creating these, these imaginary obstacles. If you're a Jesus follower, there's a really big reason. Because there's a relationship and we talked about this last time. There's a relationship between your ability, between my ability, not our willingness. There's actually a relationship between our ability to follow Jesus and our willingness to acknowledge our excuses, our paper walls, because over time excuses become bosses. Excuses become bosses that tell us what we can do, what we can't do, what we can try, what we shouldn't try, who we should approach, who we shouldn't approach, the opportunities we should take advantage of, the opportunities that we shouldn't take advantage of. They become... Our excuses become little kings, little tyrants, little lords that we can't actually follow Jesus. Even if we're willing to, we can't actually follow Jesus if we're living behind paper walls, if we're allowing our excuses to be the lords of our lives.

So, of course it would make sense that if God is our heavenly Father and has invited us to refer to him as heavenly Father, doesn't it make sense that our heavenly Father would call us out, would call our bluff? Would say, hey... He would say to us what we say to our kids, or our good friends when we're comfortable. It doesn't make sense that our heavenly Father would say, "Hey, stop making excuses, stop making excuses. Not because I'm angry with you, stop making excuses because I know what you have the potential to do. And I know what you have the potential to accomplish. I know what's on the other side of this if you will stop living behind your paper walls and running to your well rehearsed becauses".

Now, here's something that may take you by surprise or maybe a little bit shocking. If you take this idea and follow Jesus through the gospels, you will be shocked at how many times He calls people out in this regard. And He rarely calls them out gently. As strange as it sounds, sometimes Christ comes across very unchristlike, but that's what someone who cares, who genuinely cares about a person actually does. A couple of quick examples, one day Jesus is going along and He either recognizes someone or see someone but for whatever reason, He actually invites this man to be His follower. Now, when we read that we think, oh, that's cool, that's an interesting thing. Hey, come be my follower. But now imagine being that this is the first century, this is actual physical Jesus with actual physical followers. So when he would say follow me He didn't mean commit your life to me, He meant like when I leave this town, I want you to get your stuff and leave this town and follow me.

So, He is inviting this person to become like one of his core people it's the opportunity of a lifetime. And I don't know if you remember how this gentleman replied. He says the text says, "But he replied". I would love to great idea but, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father". Which sounds so reasonable and the way we think is this, oh, okay, you need to bury your father. So today's Tuesday so is the funeral's Thursday? Is the funeral Friday? Is the funeral Monday? But that's not what's going on because in this culture in ancient times when someone died, you buried them immediately. So this gentleman's father had not passed away. In other words, he's not on the dining room table at home, waiting to be buried while this guy's out wandering around, listening to somebody give speeches, TED Talks and giving these presentations.

If this guy is out in the community listening to Jesus, his father isn't dead, his father is still alive, but he wants to delay until his father passes away. And then he's like, and then once my father passes away, it could be a year, it could be five years, Jesus I'm gonna track you down. Hey and I'll catch up and I'll be your follower. And clearly Jesus sees through this, this is an excuse. Clearly, this man feared something, we don't know what it was. Some scholars say maybe he feared losing his inheritance. If he wasn't at home when his father passed away, his brothers may take advantage of the situation. We don't know. But what Jesus says is, hey, I'm asking you to follow me now I'm not asking you not to come home when your father dies, I'm not asking you to abandon your family or be irresponsible, I'm asking you to do something now. And you're using your father as an excuse because Jesus knew that later would be too late. Isn't it true that opportunities come and opportunities go and Jesus would be gone.

Now, if you grew up in church, you might remember Jesus replied. Do you remember how Jesus responds? It's so unchristlike He says, "Let the dead bury their". I mean, can you imagine anything more harsh? "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God". It's like He just calls this guy out right in front of everybody you're making excuses. I'm inviting you to something big. I'm inviting you to your name and lights. And your fear of missing out is robbing you of something on the other side of this excuse. And you're gonna look back and regret this for the rest of your life. So yeah, I'm gonna be harsh, I'm calling you out because I don't want you to miss out. Because this opportunity is gonna come and this opportunity is gonna go, and this opportunity is gonna go when I go. And do you know what this... Do you remember what this guy's name was?

Now, nobody does, we don't know his name. So after Jesus calls him out, there's another guy in the audience who got a little bit excited, and just wasn't thinking it through and he raises his hand and he actually volunteers. So another guy says, "Well, Jesus, if he won't I will, I'll follow you Lord". And then he looks around and catches himself and he looks at Jesus kinda motley crew, and then he I guess remembers some of the rumors. He says, "Wait first, wait first I mean I'm in, but first, hey, let me, if I could just like..., Lemme go back and say goodbye to my family".

Again, this seems so reasonable, but don't all of our excuses seem reasonable. Isn't that the nature of an excuse, that when it comes out of our mouth, we expect everybody to go, oh yeah, yeah, yeah, I got no problem I get that. I understand why you won't. I understand why you do. I understand why you can't quit. I understand why you started. I understand it always sounds reasonable, but Jesus knew this is an excuse. Besides, go back and say goodbye to your family. Think about what Jesus and His guys had done they had left their families. They missed weddings. They miss funerals all the time. In fact, they were probably impossibly I should say disowned by their family. Some of Jesus' disciples in order to protect their families. It's Jesus. Again, He doesn't say I understand, I understand. He calls him out. He says, "No one," so harsh. "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back".

And again, for us it's like what? So what he's referring to is in an ancient times, you've plowed a furrow. And in that part of the world if you've been there, it's very, very rocky. And so when they plowed a furrow to plant seed, they set their eyes on something directly ahead. And you never took your eye off that post or that tree or whatever it was you were looking at, and that ensured that your furrow was straight. But if you turned around to look behind you because you've lost focus and because there was so much rock, there's so much rock that if you've been there, just a little bit of loss of focus and you're off your straight furrow and you've kind of messed up the whole thing. So Jesus says, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit," this is so harsh. "Is fit for service in the kingdom of God". No, you can't follow me. You're you're afraid to go all in, so I'm gonna have to leave you behind you're making excuses.

Now here's something kind of interesting. There are people as you probably know, who have made their career out of going through the gospels and trying to decide what did Jesus actually say and what was made up. Now, we believe the gospels are reliable accounts of actual events and the sayings of Jesus. But there are people who are like, well, we think he said some of this, but we don't think he said all of this. Almost 100% of all scholars of all stripes, all theological persuasions agree that Jesus actually made these statements because, and here's their reasoning. No one would make this stuff up and put it in the mouth of Jesus, it is so harsh. No one would just fabricate these statements and say, Jesus said this, but isn't this what love does? Isn't this what a good parent does?

If you genuinely care about somebody, don't you call them out? You don't just pat them on the head. You're not condescending. You don't just ignore them. You come back around later privately. I mean, Jesus didn't do it privately. You come back privately and say every time this comes up, you give us a because, and I just gotta say, I'm not sure if your because is the cause, I think there may be something else going on. He names it for what it is. And when you love someone you say to them, I think, I think it's just a paper wall. You're just making excuses. Now, here's something to consider. And when I was preparing for this series and this message in particular, I bumped into this terrible question that honestly, personally I had to wrestle with, because I thought before I'd get up and talk about this, this is something I've got to internalize, which I always try to do. But there's a lot to internalize, especially with a series like this.

So, here's the question I found myself wrestling with and I got tired of wrestling with it so I decided to let you wrestle with it as well. So I'm gonna direct this at you okay. And again, you're gonna have to use your imagination and depending on your religious background, or if you even have a religious background, but you probably have some respect for Jesus, somewhere in the continuum of belief or disbelief. So just use your imagination and just consider this question. How, based on what we've just said how would Jesus, who knows your heart, who knows your fears, who knows your insecurities and who knows your entire story and can take all of that into account, but who also understands your potential on the other side of the excuses and the becauses and the reasons that aren't really reasons, how, how do you think Jesus, how would Jesus respond to your reasons? How do you think... When you think about the go-to reasons, the hide behind reasons that... The things that are just so comfortable, they just soon as the question comes up, you just give the same answer over, over and over.

How do you think Jesus would respond to your paper walls? In an effort to get you to stop hurting yourself, He may be willing to hurt your feelings. He may say something unkind because he knows the kind of person you could be and the kind of person you should be. Well, what if there really is a God who invites us to call Him heavenly Father and Jesus really is His Son and in some kind of mystic, mystical, intangible, I can't explain it away, what if God really can see what's on the other side of this for you and He loves you? How does a good God and how does a good savior respond to your becauses, your reasons, your excuses, your paper walls? Jesus may actually tell you a parable. He would do that from time to time when people asked difficult questions that He wanted to give a complicated answer to and leave them thinking.

A parable, of course, is a made up story. There aren't true stories Jesus would make up these stories. Jesus wrote fiction, think about that, He was a fiction author. Jesus would make up stories. And a parable is a made up story in order to make a very specific point to a very specific group of people. So, perhaps when Jesus heard your reasons that aren't really reasons, your becauses that aren't the causes, perhaps He would tell you a parable and perhaps He would tell you this parable. And when he began this parable, if he were to tell you this parable, you would say, "Jesus, I've heard this before". And Jesus would probably say, "Well, I want you to listen to it again, but now I want you to listen to this pretty famous parable through the filter of your becauses, your reasons, your excuses and your paper walls".

And Jesus would say this. Once upon a time, because it's a made up story. Once upon a time, there was a very, very wealthy man. And he was gonna go on a very, very long trip and he called in three of his servants. And he said to his servants, "While I'm gone, I'm gonna give each of you a measure of my money, it's not your money, my money to invest for my benefit. And then when I get back, I'm gonna let you come in and tell me what you did with my money that you invested while I was gone". And he gave each of these three servants, different amounts each according to their ability. And then he leaves town and he's gone for a very long time. And eventually you may have heard this before, he comes back and he asked the three servants to come in and to report about what they've done with the money that he left them to invest. And he was very intentional before he left. He said, "I want you to invest this money so that when I return, I'll have a return on my money".

Well, the first two servants come in. If you've heard this before, they're so excited because they invested well. In fact, the first two servants actually doubled their master's money. And when the master hears this, of course he is delighted and he says to them, "Well done, well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things". You did exactly what I asked you to do. "You've been faithful with a few things, I'm gonna put you in charge of many things". To which they must have thought, well, I don't feel like this amount of money you gave us was a few things. He's like, oh, we're just getting started.

Now that I know that you know what to do with my money and how to invest my money, hey, we're just getting started. And come he says, come and share in my happiness, come and share in your master's happiness. This is a win-win, it's a win for me and it's a win for you. And then the third servant, who had been given the least amount to invest, which means he had the least amount to lose, he comes in to give his not so stellar report. And do you know what he brings with him to give his report? He brings an excuse. Now, it's important to know that in every parable that Jesus taught, there was someone in the parable that represented God, and then there was someone in the parable that represented Jesus audience. In our case, the people in the audience is us. And the God figure as you probably would guess is the rich man and the people in the audience, which is us are the servants. "Master," the servant says.

So this is the third servant giving his report. "Master,' the servant said". Before I tell you what happened to your money, a couple of introductory statements. "I knew that you are a hard man, you harvest where you have not sown". That is, you don't leave anything on the table as a business person. "You harvest where you have not sown and you gather where you have not even scattered seed". In other words, you don't just take advantage of your own investments, you have figured out how to profit off of other people's investments. Now, lemme back up and sort of give you the implication of what he's saying to his master. The implication is this, "Master before I tell you what I did with your money, you need to know it's not my fault. In fact, it's your fault. If you weren't the way you are, I would not have done what I did. I mean, this whole thing was completely out of my control". It's all an excuse. Back to what he actually said. "Master,' the servant said, 'I knew that you're a hard man investing where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid, I was afraid".

Now I wanna pause here for just a moment, because this is so important for all of us. At the root, at the root of just about every single excuse, even the ones that have it becauses attached to them, even the ones that we've done such a good job disguising as actual reasons, at the root of every single, just about every single excuse is a fear, something we fear. The fear of embarrassment, the fear of failure. In some cases, the fear of success, the fear of change, the fear of loss, the fear of admission. If I acknowledge that I'm making an excuse and it's not really a reason, I'm gonna have to acknowledge something about myself. And sometimes the most terrifying experience is of a person's life. Maybe the most terrifying experience of your life is acknowledging something about yourself that you've never been willing or able to acknowledge before. "Master," he said, "I'm afraid".

And you know what's so interesting is none of us think we're cowards and none of us think we're afraid of anything. And if I were to say to you, are you afraid? We immediately think of people, I'm not afraid of anybody. I'm not afraid of anything. But is it possible, is it possible that disguised in our excuses is a fear we've never reckoned with? We've never been willing to acknowledge and that fear animates and fuels our excuses. And if you're a Jesus follower, it's even more important because Jesus most often repeated command was fear not. "I'm afraid," he said. "I was afraid so I went out". And because I was afraid of losing what you asked me to invest, "I hid your gold in the ground. See here is what belongs to you". But don't be mad with me because ultimately it's not my fault, it's not my fault. And his master replied, "I understand, no worries. Here's a gift card. Get yourself a venti mocha with sprinkles". And he patted him on the head and he went his way. No, that's not what love does. Are you ready though? Are we all buckled in remember it's parable. "You wicked lazy servant"!

I mean, Jesus, wasn't messing around. I mean, everybody's on the edge of their stone or whatever they were sitting on like what? You wicked lazy servant. So you knew, I mean, you just admitted it. So you knew that I harvest where I've not sown. In other words, you know I don't leave anything on the table that I gather where I've not scattered seed. So well then, well come on. So since you knew that, why didn't you put my money on deposit with the bankers at least so that when I returned, I would at least have received it back with interest? In other words, there is no excuse for this. You allowed your fear to blind you to opportunity. You allowed your fear to create an obstacle, that wasn't even an obstacle it was... Your fear it blinded you to the simplest thing you could have done so that when I returned, at least you would have something to show for the money I loaned you to invest on my behalf. You had an opportunity, but now that opportunity is gone.

And then here's the punchline. I gotta remind you one more time, it's a parable. It's not a true story, but it is Jesus telling it. So in the parable, the rich master turns to his bodyguards and he says, "Throw that worthless servant outside into the darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth". And Jesus' point is clear, that people who make excuses go to hell. I don't know why you laughed at that, I don't think that's very funny. Now, that's not what he's actually saying, but I just wanna say, if you have teenagers at home who won't do their homework and keep offering these lame excuses, it's something to work with anyway. So, what's the point? Because again, this is so harsh. I mean, you could've heard a pin drop, if they'd had pins. Here's, it's intense because Jesus is meaning to be intense. It's extreme because He's making an extreme point. And behind all of that, is his love for the world and the people in His audience and for you and you and me.

Now, any golfers in the room? Anybody here play golf, are any golfers? Yeah I got some golfer, some golfers yeah. You actually understand what Jesus is saying whether you recognize it or not. How about this, don't raise your hand on this one. Anybody, here don't raise your hand. You considered buying Tesla stock when it first went public and you didn't? you really understand what Jesus is getting at here. What He's getting at here, weeping and gnashing of teeth is not an indication of pain and suffering. Weeping and gnashing of teeth is an indication of intense frustration, intense disappointment, intense regret. You're telling me I could have moved through this, and instead, because of my fear, I hung back. You're telling me there was an opportunity I missed. You're telling me there's something I could have accomplished, something I could have done for the world, for my family, for my health and I didn't do it. And now the opportunity has come and it's gone? Uurgh. And I realized is only my fault.

And for years, and years, and years, for seasons of my life, I blamed and blamed and blamed and pointed fingers. And now it finally has dawned on me, I could have done something about this, but I hid behind my reasons that weren't reasons my becauses, that weren't the causes, but now the season has come and the season has gone, and there's nothing I can do about it. Going back to the parable when that happens, you recognize that you have been left out. And this is Jesus' point that you have been left outside something that you could have participated in. So, in the parable and everybody in Jesus' culture understood this, the wicked not wicked, but the irresponsible excuse making servant is outside the house, he's outside the party. And inside Jesus is... I mean, the master is celebrating with the faithful stewards. On the outside, he's not being punished he recognizes, I could have gotten this right. I could have done something about this, but I was afraid and I have missed out, and now I am outside. Jesus is disturbingly intense because He loves you, and He loves me, and He loves us intensely. And He knows what you are missing out on. He knows what's on the other side of my fear, my hesitance, my unwillingness to press through. My inability or unwillingness to acknowledge that these aren't reasons, Andy, these are just excuses you're disguising as a reason.

If you're not careful, and this is maybe this is part of why Jesus is so intense about this. If you're not careful, if I'm not careful, if we're not careful, we can excuse our life away. We can, you can excuse a marriage away. You can excuse your family away. You can excuse your relationship with your kids away. You can excuse your health away. You can excuse your faith away because of something somebody said to you, something somebody pointed out to you and you've been unwilling to press through for whatever reason. I think if we're gonna fear something, what we should fear, we should fear missing out on who we could and should be. If you're gonna fear something, you should fear missing out on who you could and should be. We should fear missing out on what God and who God created us to be. If you step way back and take the message and the life of Jesus into account, if we're gonna fear something, we should fear missing out on what we could do and should do. You should fear missing out on what you could do and should do for the people and the world around you. If we're gonna fear something, maybe we should fear living behind self-created, self-inflicted, lie infested paper walls. Walls that rob you and walls that rob the world of you. Lies and reasons that aren't reasons that rob me and rob my family of me.

So, one more time help, how would Jesus do you think, how would Jesus respond to your reasons? How would Jesus respond to your becauses? You know how your friends and family members do, they kinda roll their eyes or they just kinda go with it. But how would your Savior who loves you, who knows your entire story, who knows your fears and knows your insecurities, and know things that have been said to you, but knows your potential, how would you save your respond to your reasons? The good news is, God loves you just the way you are, regardless of which side of the wall you're on. But God loves you too much to leave you the way you are. So He's gonna call your bluff, He's gonna call your bluff. He's gonna call you out. He's gonna call me out. He's gonna say your reasons aren't reasons. your becauses aren't really the causes, they're just paper walls. He knows better.

And if we're honest, and if we're willing to face our fears, we know better as well. And the really, really good news is God wants better for you. And we will pick it up right there next time in part three of paper walls, moving beyond the excuses that hold you back. Before you go three questions, to keep the conversation going or to get the conversation going, question number one, do you know anyone? Because these are stories that are worth telling. Do you know anyone, you don't have to use names, who excuses, behaviors that actually hurt the people they claim to care the most about? This is the strangest thing about an excuse. We create excuses and we hide behind our excuses and we hurt the people we claim to care the most about. Have you ever seen that dynamic? Maybe you grew up in that dynamic. Number two, when is the last time someone accused you of making excuses? This rarely happens, but every once in a while, somebody just, they can't help themselves, I think that's an excuse. When is the last time that happened, and how did you respond? And number three, are there any paper walls that come to mind during the message?

While I'm talking about this and again, I'm trying to lean in hard and capture Jesus' intensity because He was so intense that anything come to mind. That any go-to because that perhaps isn't really the cause come to mind if so, I'll make a suggestion. You should tell someone, you should tell someone. If you have... If you really wanna make some progress, tell the person that your excuse actually impacts the most. And when you tell them, don't be surprised if they're not surprised because they know. The only thing that will surprise them is that it has finally dawned on you and that you have the courage to acknowledge it. And when you do, they'll be relieved and you'll be relieved because you'll be free. Because as we'll discuss next time, truth actually sets us free. And one of the things that truth sets us free from is our paper walls. Let's pray together.

Heavenly Father, thank you for this reminder. Thank you for loving us so intensely that you track us down. You come after us, you surface these ideas, you bring people around us. Sometimes people we love and respect. Sometimes people we have little respect for, and yet they say things we need to hear. Give us the wisdom to listen, give us the courage to respond. And Father, I pray that nobody listening today would live another unnecessary minute behind the walls that hold them back, that make us small, that rob us of our potential and rob the world around us of our potential. So give us eyes to see, ears to hear and the courage to respond in Jesus name. Amen.

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