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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Craig Groeschel » Craig Groeschel - Normal Isn't Working

Craig Groeschel - Normal Isn't Working

Craig Groeschel - Normal Isn't Working
Craig Groeschel - Normal Isn't Working
TOPICS: Who Do You Think You Are

Whenever you meet someone and you know that they're not from where you're from, one of the first questions you typically ask them is what? Where are you from? Because where you're from tells you a lot about who you are and how you think. So I'm gonna ask you guys just for fun and online, you can type it in the comment section, where you're from, and then you guys can just shout it out as loud as you want, as long as it's not too weird. Where are you from? I heard a lot of different things, but what I know about is this, that if you've noticed that where you're from influences how you talk, how you think, and what you do. If you visit different parts of the world, even if they speak the same language, they often have a very different accent or an entirely different language.

A lot of times they'll have different values, maybe the way they think about dating or family or money or relationships. They'll often behave very differently. For example, in college I was the only American on an all otherwise Australian tennis team. I'll show you my mates. See what I did there? My mates, because they were all from Australia, the very first thing that I learned in playing with an all Aussie tennis team was the first thing I learned was the cuss words. I know all the Australian cuss words. I will not share any of them with you, but I do know them. And in the United States, if you have a beer and a barbecue, you call it a beer and a barbecue, Aussies call it a beer and barbie. You have a beer and barbie with your blokes and the sheilas.

And if you're drinking beer, they're drinking fosters. I'm not sure why, but it's actually a thing. A cool thing about the mate culture in Australia is when you have a nickname and everybody has a nickname, if you don't have a nickname, they don't like you. And the cool thing is nicknames are easy. You just add an O or an E to the names. For example, my coach was Colin Robertson, and so we called him Robbo. Hill was the last name of a guy I played doubles with for a while. So he was Hillie, Hillie. My nickname was Gross, but that wasn't the Australian version. So they had to add an E to it. I wasn't just gross, I was Grossie. That was my name. Where you're from influences how you think, how you talk, and how you behave in all sorts of ways. For example, when it comes to shoes, different cultures have different mindsets towards shoes.

When I went to Korea, they told me, whatever you do, don't show the soles of your shoes because that could be very rude. In Japan, they'll tell you, take your shoes off before you enter into a building or into a house because it would be rude to leave your shoes on. Where I grew up, we had a culture with my friend's mom made us take our shoes off when we went into her home. And when you got to the door, if you found another pair of shoes you liked better than your shoes, the culture was to put them on and run as fast as you can. That's what we did. Where you're from determines how you act. It influences how you talk, how you think, and what you do. For those of you who are followers of Jesus, where are you from? And the answer is, you are not from here. This is not your home.

If you are in Christ, scripture teaches that you are a citizen of the heavenly kingdom. And because you are not from this world, you are not aligned with all of the values and customs of this earthly world. And because you're loyal to a Heavenly King, you talk differently, you think differently, and you live differently, because where you're from influences what you do. In fact, Peter reminds us that you are not from here. He says this in 1 Peter 2:11. He says, "Dear friends, I warn you as," and then he uses two Greek words. One of them is translated temporary residents, the other one as foreigners. He says, "I warn you, remember who you are, you're temporary residents".

In other words, this is not your permanent home, as foreigners, you're not from here. He says, "To keep away from worldly desires that wage against your very souls". Because this Earth is not your home, be careful not to get sucked into the customs and values of this world, but fight against those things that literally wage war against who you were created to be. He uses two Greek words, and I'm gonna show you these Greek words. And again, if you don't know how to say 'em, just say, "That's Greek to me". That's Greek to me. The transliteration of these words or in the Greek language, these words would be paroikous and parepidemous. I hope I say that close. But what we do know is the first letters come from the root para, and this is the most important part because these two words are very closely related.

Para means beside or it means near or it means temporary. These words are, you're a foreigner, you're an exile, you're a stranger, you're a sojourner, you're not from here. These words literally together, they mean to live near, but not in. Or it means to be close, but not from. It means you may live in the world, but you are not of the world. You may be close, but you are not in. You may be near, but you are not of. So if you are a citizen of heaven, if this Earth is not your home, where are you from? Paul said it very, very clearly. He said this, he said, "We are citizens of heaven where the Lord Jesus lives". Who are you? You are a citizen of heaven. You belong to the most High King. You are from the kingdom of God.

And you say, "That's good news because I did the Jesus thing. I checked the box. Now I'm going to heaven when I die. That's it, right"? Not exactly. There's actually quite a bit more to being a citizen of heaven. There's a lot more to fully living for the King of kings and engaging in the world that you are not from in a way that makes a difference in this world. So if we're truly citizens of heaven, if this Earth is not our home, how do we live for Jesus while we're on Earth? Paul used the conjunction, the word but. He said, "But we are citizens of heaven". But is a conjunction. And you know the saying about conjunction, right?

If you know it, just sing it with me. "Conjunction junction; What's your function". Right? Little "Schoolhouse Rock"! fans? Now here's what's really cool. If you know what I just said, "Schoolhouse Rock"! Conjunction junction, that means you're old. And speaking of but, if you know that joke, it's time for you to schedule your colonoscopy. Sorry, that's gross, I know. But everyone here, if you don't know that, you don't need to worry about that for another 15 or 20 years. "Conjunction junction". Anytime you see a conjunction, you see but, you wanna know why is it there? So if Paul says, "But we are citizens of heaven," we wanna know what was he saying before that so it'll make sense in context.

So let's look at what he said before, "But you're citizens of heaven". He said this, he said, "For I've told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes". When we're reading this, I hope you'll feel the emotion of the Apostle Paul who was gonna say, "You're not from here, this isn't your home". And I want you to feel the pain when he says, "There are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction". He goes on to say, "Their God is their appetite, and they brag about shameful things". We see this all over in our culture today, don't we? "And they think only about this life here on Earth". And then he says, "But" everybody say, "But". Type it in the comments section. Say it again, "But even though they are living for the things of this world, but we are citizens of heaven where the Lord Jesus Christ lives and we are eagerly awaiting Him to return as our Savior".

There is a phrase I must admit in this verse that convicts me deeply. And the phrase goes like this, "They think only about life here on Earth". Because although I know I'm a citizen of heaven, I tend to think a lot about life here on Earth. And this convicts me because my mind drifts toward the cares and the concerns of this world way more often than I would like to admit. And I'm guessing that some of you might be a little bit convicted too, because it's easy to obsess about this Earth. I'm a citizen of heaven, of course. But we all wanna be comfortable, right? I mean, we all wanna have a good income and a nice home and maybe one day even get like a house cleaner so I can have more me time for whatever me time it is, your yoga or knitting or flying or rolling or soccer or whatever.

We want more me time and we want a little extra cash for our favorite watch or our shoes or our bracelets or our outfits. And we wanna travel and we wanna go nice places and we gotta get our coffee. Gotta get our coffee, for the glory of Jesus, we can't serve Him without our coffee. And we know we're citizens of heaven, but we wanna provide the best we can for our families. And then we want to show it all on social media so we can tell everybody, "My life is amazing #blessed". Right? And we get sucked into this like what we have and what we do and what we show and what people think about us. And we know deep down as followers of Jesus that this isn't all there is, but we just get almost dragged into it where it almost overtakes us and we start to think, "Well this is what matters, right? What they think really matters, right? What I have, that's what's gonna make me happy, right"?

And we get pulled down into this world and there is something deep in your souls that knows that you were created for more. Why? Because this world is not your home. You're a citizen of heaven. And when you're a citizen of heaven, I wanna show you two things that scripture say very, very clearly. The first is, number one, is you will think differently from this world. When you are a citizen of heaven, you may live by the laws because you're here, but you are driven by the values of the kingdom of God. Romans 12:2 tells us this. Scripture says, "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world". Just because everybody else is doing it and everybody else says it's right, and everybody else says, "Well, now this is true," we don't live according to what the world says is true, but we are transformed into a new person by what?

Scripture says, "By changing the way you think". We will let God's Word, let His truth renew our minds so we're not dragged down into the lives of this world, but we keep our minds set on things that are above. And the world's gonna lie to us over and over and over again because this world is broken and marred by sin. This culture will tell you, "Live for yourself. Live your best life. You matter more than anything else. Live your truth. Doesn't matter what you do, as long as you don't hurt anybody". But scripture says, "No, your treasure is not on Earth. Your real treasure is in heaven. You don't get your value from this Earth".

And so Paul said this, Colossians 3, he said this, he said, "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ," where do you set your hearts? Scripture says, "You set your hearts on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. You set your mind on things above, not earthly things". Every day, my eyes see earthly things. Every day, everything in media and on social media and in the people scream out, "Live for this world, love this world". So I have to intentionally set my mind up above and say, "I'm not gonna live for the lower things that do not last. I'm not gonna live for the lower things that do not matter. I'm not gonna live for the lower things that do not honor God. I'm gonna intentionally choose to set my mind on things above".

Scripture says, "Think more about me". Putting my mind above says, "Consider others better than yourselves". The world says, "Think about what you can get and what you can have". And scripture says, "Think about what you can give and how you can bless others". The world says, "Think about now, what matters now". But when you look above, you think about what matters eternally because you're not from this world. And if you're not from this world, you will think differently from this world. And if you think differently from this world, then number two, you'll live differently from this world. Earlier, the traditional text Paul said, "As strangers and aliens stay away from, abstain from worldly desires that wage war against your soul".

A devotional version of the message says that same text this way, this is not literal but devotional. It says, "Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul". I like that imagery. I don't wanna be cozy with this world. I don't wanna snuggle up with my favorite sins. Because when you think about entertainment, many times, what are we entertained by? We are entertained by sin. I mean, if there are cuss words and nudity and violence all over the shows you're watching, is that God honoring or is that convicting 'cause it's convicting to me right now as I'm saying it, like right now, like the show I watched last night, right now, cozying up to it. Feel comfortable in it.

When you set your mind on things above, it changes everything. I mean, it changes everything. I'm not from here, so I'm not gonna let my mind drift into things from here, I'm gonna intentionally set my mind on things above, that'll change how I spend my time. It's not gonna be like, "Oh, I can't believe I spent four hours on TikTok". It's like, "I can't believe TikTok has any slice of the time that God has given me". It changes how you spend, it'll change what you do with your money. Instead of seeing it all as for us, you start to see it all as something to be stewarded for the glory of God. It'll change how you treat people, even annoying people, because scripture says to love all of them. And some of them are more difficult to love.

And sometimes loving the more difficult ones is exactly what you need to make you more like Him. When you set your mind on things above, it'll change how you date, who you date, what you don't do on dates, it'll change how you treat the people that you work with. It'll change who you marry, and how you treat the person that you're married to. It'll change your relationship with your kids. It'll change how you think about parenting and how you disciple them and what you do. Because you think differently, you're going to live differently, and you want to be different from this world, don't you? Have you looked around recently at what is normal in this world? You want what's normal? This world is like pulling us down into everything that is not God.

What's normal? I mean, let's just be practical, not even spiritual, normal is broke. Normal is spending more than you have to impress people with what you have, so much so that you can't even breathe financially. Normal is divorced and splitting the kids on the weekends, normal is lonely, scrolling all day long, acting like you have friends on screen but don't have real intimate connection in life. Normal is jealousy, and normal is numbing yourself out on alcohol or drugs. And normal is experimenting sexually and saying, "Well maybe this is who I am and this is what I can do, and now this is who I really," normal is being ticked off at the world. Normal is being skeptical of everyone that you meet and not trusting. Normal is walking around with a bitter attitude, being a victim, and everybody else is out to get me.

I'm not getting my peace, and normal's being miserable and discontented and never having enough and never having joy and not having, normal is anxiety, and depression, and stress, and cutting. Normal is hating life. Normal's not working. You're not from here. You're not supposed to be like here. I urge you, I warn you, as aliens, as strangers, as foreigners, as exiles, you're not from here, you're citizens of heaven. So you wage war, you don't tolerate it, you rage war against the very things that hurt your soul. So who are we? We're citizens of heaven. And I wanna give you a moment just to say that. Each week, we're kind of declaring who we are in Christ. And I wanna give you a moment to say it, to say it a couple times because you'll maybe believe it here, but we wanna live it here in our hearts.

So who are you? Say: "I am a citizen of heaven. My life belongs to God. Because Earth is not my home. I think differently. And I live differently". Who are you? "I am a citizen of heaven. My life belongs to God. Because Earth is not my home. I think differently. And I live differently". And that's why we remind ourselves over and over and over and over again, this world is not my home. I'm a citizen of heaven. Because if you don't remind yourself over and over and over again, if you don't remind yourself, you will drift to the things of this world. We all will. The current is so strong. Have you ever been to the beach playing in the ocean and recognized while you were playing the current just moved you? Anybody know what I'm talking about? Type online, "I know what you're talking about".

I'll look at the comments. You'll make me feel like, you know what I'm talking about. You're playing. We did this one time, we were playing, we had our little beach sand castle and our little blanky blanky with our little sandwiches with a lot of sand in the witches, 'cause we're at the beach, you know? And so we were, I'm out there playing with my kids and we're just playing and the current's kind of going, we're just kind of playing and the current's kind of going, we're just having a good time. Woo shark, shark, shark, shark, shark, shark. We're playing and playing, shark, shark, shark. You know, you grabbed their little booty, kid booty and act like it's daddy. And you know, we play and play and play and then we look up and our little camp side is way down there. How'd we get here? We didn't realize it. But the whole time, very, very, very, very slowly, the current was moving you in its direction.

Can I talk to those of you that are parents? One of your greatest responsibilities if you are a disciple of Jesus, is to help your children understand, as disciples of Jesus, we are different. Different is actually good. And we have to intentionally resist the cultural current because it pulls us away from Jesus toward the things of this world. And so you're gonna say, "Okay Craig, as a parent, what does that look like"? The answer's like, I don't know. All I know is in our home we had certain things and it wasn't even about the things as it was about the difference in our home, like as followers of Jesus, we do these things and we don't do those things. And I promise you when I tell you it wasn't as much about the things as it was the principle that we wanted them to understand as followers of Jesus, we're different.

And you can pick your thing. It might be that we don't give you a cell phone when you're seven years old so you can have a connection with the whole world. We don't get that until later in our home. Or it might be, we want you to be secure in who you are in Christ so social media doesn't come, you don't get that until a certain age. Or it might be that, hey, on summer vacation, yeah, we do a four-day trip for us and then we do a four-day mission trip because as followers of Jesus, we're different. Or it might be like, you know, you're really, really good at this activity. But since the traveling team does that on Sundays, oh, I know I'm getting in dangers. We don't do that because we prioritize the worship of the place that we are from. We worship our God in heaven.

So we're not doing that team. And what I promise you is you would rather have a disciple of Jesus than a star athlete when everything is said and done. "And that don't mess with our sports, okay"? It might be that we don't listen to certain music because we're a follower of Jesus. Or you're not going on a car date even though all your friends are at this age. Whatever it is, you prayerfully determined as a follower of Jesus and this area of our life, we are strategically and intentionally different. And again, it is not just about the thing, it's about helping our children see, to honor God, we are not from this world, therefore we will not live like this world. And I wanna say it very directly. If you don't actively resist the current of culture, you will drift into the deception of this world. It has to be active. Fight against the things that wage war against your soul. You are not from here.

The Bible says, "We are called to be hagios," that means holy. That means set apart. Set apart means different. Listen to me, church, don't worry if you're different from the world. Worry if you're not. God calls us to be different, to be set apart. Now some of you may find yourself saying kinda like what I would like, "I know I shouldn't love this world, but I kinda like the things in this world. And the more I pursue them, the more I realize I'm still not satisfied". Why is it that we pursue more and more and more and more in this world and yet find ourselves more and more and more and more dissatisfied? Dr. Tony Evans told in "Illustration," I give him credit for the idea and then I'm gonna totally butcher his and tell it my own way. But he talks about a fish that's taken out of water.

I would explain it like this. If you take a fish out of water and you drive that fish to Target, if it's a female fish, or Bass Pro Shops, if it's a male fish, and give that fish $1,000 gift card, is the fish happy? No. If you take the fish out of water and you video the fish dancing, I'm making this up, to "Baby Shark" and the video goes viral and now the fish has TikTok fame. Is that fish happy? No. Okay, if it's a male fish and you parade a lot of little female fishes in teeny fish bikinis in front of that fish while he's sitting there on the beach, silly, right? But is the fish happy? The answer is no, why? Because the fish wasn't made for the beach. The fish was made for the water. And if you find yourself living for this world and living for this world and never satisfied by the things in this world, it's because you are not made for this world. Stop acting like it's your home. We're citizens of heaven.

If you continue to look for the things in this world to satisfy you, you're looking in a place that can never fulfill your deepest longings because you are not created for this world, you're not from this world. Who are you? Well, when you know who you are, you'll know what to do. And over the past few weeks we've looked at who we are in Christ. Who are you? You are God's masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do the good works which God prepared in advance for you to do. You are the masterpiece of God. Who are you? You're an ambassador of the most high God. You are the highest ranking diplomat sent by God, from heaven to Earth to show His love.

Who are you? You are the salt of this Earth and you are the light of this world. So be salty and let your light shine. Where are you from? You are not from here. This is not your home. You are a citizen of heaven. And because your life is not your own and this world is not your home, your past on this Earth will not define you. The trials thrown at you will not stop you. Fear can't control you. Doubters can't deter you. There's no person that can ever break you. Money can't buy you because you are living for the treasures of that which is to come. Haters can't silence you. Demons can never defeat you. Why? This world is not your home. You are born in the kingdom of God for the things of God. So live for the things of God.

So who are you? With a smile on your face and joy in your heart because you're fulfilling your heavenly purpose in all you do. Who are you? "I am. A citizen of heaven. My life belongs to God. And because Earth is not my home. I think differently and I live differently", because the very same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells within you because you have the faith to walk into a room and call the things that are not as though they were. Your faith moves mountains. God hears your prayers. You are blessed by Him to make a difference in this world.

When you walk in the room, hope walks in the room. When you walk in the room, faith walks in the room. When you walk in the room, you're just visiting the room with a message from heaven to show the love of a good God. But this room's not your home. You're just passing through. You're on assignment, on mission, by the Creator of the universe who loved you so much He sent His Son Jesus for you. This Earth is not your home. Stop living like it. You belong to God. Set your mind on things above and let that change the way you think and let that change the way you live. And when you get different and a little bit weird, don't be afraid 'cause normal's not working. Don't be afraid if you're different, be worried if you're not 'cause this world is not your home.

So Father, we pray today that Your Holy Spirit would do a work in us, stir us. God, convict us in a loving way, to let go of that which is below and to look to that which is above.

As you keep praying today at all of our churches and around the world online, I wonder how many of you would admit that you can be like me. And I don't like to say it out loud, but it's true. I am a citizen of heaven. I've been born again by the power of Jesus, I belong to God. And yet, the current of this world pulls me into it. And I can end up living for the things that don't last and don't matter. How many of you would say that can be true for you and you want something different? Would you lift up your hands right now? Lift up your hands, online, you can type in the comment section that, "God help me to live for You. Help me to live for You".

Father, I pray that this word would just do a serious work on our hearts. In our LifeGroups, we talk about it over meals, we talk about it with our family, that as disciples of Jesus, You've called us to be holy, to be set apart, to be different. Not because we're better, not because we're arrogant, not because we're gonna snub our nose at anybody, but just because we wanna live according to the values of the kingdom of God. Give us the courage to swim upstream when everyone else is going the other way. God, give us the faith to obey You when You challenge us to do something different with our money, or different with our time, or different in the way that we parent our kids, give us the courage to stand strong. Give us the faith to hear from heaven, to be bold enough to be different, to think differently. God help us, help us. We need help. In Your word as we study Your word, renew our minds. And we choose, God, to set our minds on things above, not on things below. We're citizens of heaven, you are a citizen of heaven, you are a child of God. This world is not your home. So God, teach us, conform us to the image of Your Son to live in a way that honors You.

As you keep praying today, nobody looking around, some of you right now, you might say, "Yeah, I believe in God, but you know, I'm obviously not a citizen of heaven. I grew up going to church some and I believed in God, but I did not belong to Him". There's a big difference between believing in God. Scripture says that even the demons, they believe in Him and they're smart enough to shutter, that they tremble. You may kind of believe in God, but you recognize you're not following Him. You don't know Him. You're not in a personal relationship with Him. Let me just tell you about how good He is, and He's also kind of demanding, He's so good. He is so loving that even when we've been sinning against Him, He loved us and sent Jesus, His Son, perfect in every way. Jesus died on the cross so our sins could be forgiven, and God raised Him from the dead.

Now, what does God want? Well, this is where He is kind of demanding. He wants all of you, like He wants to be first. He wants to be the Lord of your life. And I'll tell you what, I don't want anything less than Him to be first. He is the only one who's ever loved us, He is the one who created us, He is the one who made the ability for us to be right with Him. And because of His love, I wanna let go of everything in this world and I wanna surrender everything to Him. Some of you today, you may recognize I've been around the things of God, but I'm not really surrender to Him. I'm not really submitted to him. Today, all we're gonna do is we're gonna take a really big step of faith.

Scripture says that when you call on the name, the name of Jesus, the name that is above every name, God actually hears your prayers. When you put Him first, He'll forgive your sins. You're brand new, all the old stuff has gone and everything becomes new. If you recognize today, you're kinda like half in, like kind of part of like whatever, but you're not fully surrendered to Him, we're gonna step away from our sinfulness and we're gonna give Him our whole life. Everything, everything. Our past, our present, our future. We're surrendering to Him. This isn't like a little Jesus check the box thing. This is a full on, take my whole life, every bit of me, my present, my future, I give it all to you today, wherever you're watching from and you recognize you need a Savior, you need Jesus to be the Lord of your life.

We're stepping away from our sin. We're saying "Yes, take all of my life. I turn to You. Forgive my sins. I give You my life". That's your prayer today. Lift your hands high right now and say, "Yes, I surrender. I'll praise God". We've got people today in all of our churches saying "Yes, we surrender to You. We trust You as the Lord of our lives". Online, just type in the comment section. "I am surrendering my life to Jesus". Just type that in. "I'm surrendering my life to Jesus". And in this holy moment, would you pray with those around you? Pray from your heart with faith:

Heavenly Father, I surrender my whole life. Jesus, save me. Be my Lord. Fill me with Your Spirit, so I could serve You every moment of my life. Because my life is not my own, I give it all to You. Earth is not my home, I'm a citizen of heaven. Lord, use me to show Your love and to do Your will, because I belong to You. Thank You for new life, you have all of mine. In Jesus name I pray.

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