James Meehan - How to Get From Here to There
- Get involved
Well good evening Switch. I am so honored and excited to spend some time with you. What we're gonna do is we are going to begin a conversation, we're gonna explore the question, how do we get from here to there? Because we all have a there that we wanna end up, the question is, how do we get from here to there? Now, I don't know about you, but I wish that life was sort of like a mall map. You know, when you're at the mall, you look on the map, there's the star that says you are here. And so, you see where here is and then you look at where there is, and you've got this map that tells you how to get there. And if you're a sane human being then the there that you are searching for is the food court, come on somebody. Also known as heaven on earth because where else, where else can you get food court mall Chinese food and finish it off with a Chick-Fil-A cookies and cream milkshake?
Come on somebody. But here's the heartbreaking reality, is that life is not quite like a mall map. Life is a lot more complicated, it's a lot more messy. And so, what ends up happening is, we're faced with this question of, how do I get from here to there? And we have to figure out and answer, and the answer isn't always easy. And so, what we're gonna talk about is this idea that the life you want tomorrow is built on the choices you make today. And specifically this week, we're gonna explore clout, influence, power, weight, respect, authority. Clout, the ability to make things happen.
And the reason why we're gonna talk about this is because there was a poll that went out to a bunch of teenagers, that's you, you're friends, the people you're sitting next to in this row, and they asked the question, what do wanna be when you grow up? And the number one response was a YouTuber. And what's crazy is, out of the top ten answers, seven of them involved some type of fame. It involved becoming famous in one way or another. That's why we're talking about clout, because, if we're honest, most of us would say that the there that we're trying to get to involves clout or fame of some sort.
Now I know for me, when I was in high school, I 100% wanted clout. I had two goals, goal number one, become a professional UFC fighter. Goal number two, to become a famous YouTuber who made Call of Duty videos. Come on somebody. You might be wondering, "What UFC, Call of Duty? How do those work together"? Let me tell you, because I'm trained mixed martial arts, and I'm trained Call of Duty skills, here's what I could do, if anybody wanna do a 1v1 me, I would whoop on 'em. I.R.L or online, come on somebody. But then I started following Jesus, I make better choices now. But you know, it's funny though, 'cause I really wanted that clout. I wanted people to know my name, because I was convinced, and if I became a professional fighter, or if I was a Call of Duty YouTuber, then people would respect me. I would have significance.
I think, if we're honest, what we would admit is that the thing we're really searching for is significance, lives that matter. We're looking for meaning. And a lot of us are convinced, that the best way to find meaning and significance, is by getting clout. But here's the question that I have, is clout really the best way to find a significant life? When we're asking the question, how do I get from here to there? And the there that I'm really looking for is significance, is clout really the best way to get from here to there?
What I wanna do is, I wanna throw out some names to you of people who have clout. And as I'm going through these names, I want you to just pause and think, and ask yourself how you feel about that person. You ready? Here we go, the first name, Kanye West. Billie Eilish. Ganhdi. Joseph Stalin. Mother Theresa. Taylor Swift. Jake Paul. Cristiano Ronaldo. Selena Gomez. Adolf Hitler. Martin Luther King Junior. So here's the thing, all of those names have clout, right? All of them. They all had influence, they all had power, but I would be willing to bet that we didn't have the same reaction to every name that was listed. I'd be willing to bet that there was some of those names where we absolutely said, "Yes, I would love to have a life like them". There's also some of those names that we probably thought, "I would not at all want to have a life like them".
And there's probably other names where we thought to ourselves, "I wouldn't mind having their influence or their clout, but if I did, I would make way better choices than they do". And I think when we start to think about that, these different responses that we have to people who have clout, it begs the question, okay, what's the difference? What's the difference between Gandhi and Joseph Stalin? What's the difference between Martin Luther King Junior and Adolf Hitler? What's the difference between the people who have the clout and the lives that we want, and the people who have the clout, but they don't have the lives that we want? And I think the answer to that question is what will get us from here to there. It will get us to the life that we're looking for. And here's what we know, is that the life we want tomorrow is built on the choices we make today.
Now, as I was researching this message I came across this psychologist who had some really brilliant words to say about clout. And just to kind of help you understand them, this person, they built their entire career on studying clout and fame, and the effect that it has on people. And they built their entire career around helping celebrities live meaningful lives in spite of their fame, in spite of it. And I was reading this article that this person wrote, and here's what they said, they said that, "The relevant question becomes, how can a celebrity survive fame? How can someone take a God given talent, rise to mega stardom, and ride the merry-go-round of fame with health, grace, and perspective until it's time to finally get off"?
Here's the thing, we know that clout, by itself, isn't a bad thing, right? Or clout isn't a bad thing, but on it's own it can be dangerous. There were people who had clout and we would absolutely want the lives that they had. But there were people who had clout, but they were missing something, that lead to us thinking, "No, I don't want that life". This psychologist goes on to say that, "Fame, the natural tendency, fames' natural tendency is toward narcism". That clout, power, influence, the natural tendency when you have it is towards more clout, more fame, more power, more influence for yourself and not for others. That when you want more, when you get more, more is never enough.
They go on to say this, they say that, "Clues to the answer", this is the answer to the question of how does a celebrity survive fame? "Clues to the answer lies in becoming part of something larger than one's self, and dedicating all of one's drives and ambitions into making a real difference in a meaningful way in the world". So this psychologist is telling us that clout by itself isn't the problem, clout by itself absolutely can be dangerous. And if you wanna know how to survive fame, if you wanna know how to survive power, then what you've gotta do is you've gotta use that clout for the good of others and not just yourself. You have to use your power for a purpose. What this psychologist is telling us is that in order to get from here to there the thing that you need isn't just clout, but you need wisdom, because wisdom is using what you have for good.
Like clout is power, it's the ability to make things happen, and wisdom is using your clout for the good of others. Wisdom is using your power for a purpose. Not just for yourself, but for others. What's cool is that, in the book of Proverbs, which is a book that's in our Bibles today, in chapter nine verse 12 it tells us this, the author wrote, "If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. But if you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer". This author is telling us that, if you become wise, if you use your clout, and your influence, and your power, for good, then guess what? They win because you're helping them, and you win because you're using your clout for good. But if you scorn wisdom, if you use your power and your clout just for yourself, then guess what happens, you are the one who suffers.
I love it when psychology and scripture are saying the same thing, helping us understand that the way to get from here to there is not just about having clout, but it's clout less wisdom that will lead us to significance. Because wisdom is using your clout for the good of others. It's using your power for a purpose. I think what we've got to recognize is that the life we want tomorrow, the significance that we're searching for, is built on the choices we make today. Wise choices today lead to a life of significance tomorrow. And we can never forget that wisdom is never power hungry, wisdom is always purpose driven.
Let me say that again, wisdom is never power hungry, wisdom is never just about me, wisdom is always purpose driven. It's about what can I do to serve and to support other people, because that's the only way that we can survive and move past clout and fame's natural tendency, which is towards narcism and self-centeredness. What psychology and scripture are telling us is that the way you get from here to there is you use what you have for the good of others. You need wisdom, because wisdom, this is what's gonna help you lead a life of significance. So, how do you build the life that you want tomorrow? You make wise choices today. How do you make wise choices? Well first, you have to develop wisdom.
So where does wisdom come from? And what I want to do is I wanna look again at the book of Proverbs, in chapter four verse seven, where the author tells us this, the author says, "The beginning of wisdom is this, get wisdom". Like that's it, that's what they tell us. That the beginning of wisdom is get wisdom. Like it's that simple, it's not more complicated, the author goes on to say, if it costs everything that you have, seek understanding. The way to get wisdom is you get wisdom. Now I know you might be hearing that and thinking to yourself, "Okay, that doesn't mean anything. You're just telling me that to do the thing I wanna do I just have to do the thing that I wanna do".
Well what the author is telling us is that, it's really that simple. The beginning of wisdom is this, recognize that you need wisdom and then do something about it. The author is telling us that the beginning of wisdom is being humble enough to know that you don't have all the answers and hungry enough to do something about it. The author is telling us that if you just look for wisdom, you're going to find it. So start by simply looking for wisdom. "The beginning of wisdom is this, get wisdom". So where do you get wisdom? How do you get wisdom? Well first you just start looking for it. And I think one of the best things that you can do is what you did right now.
You are here at Switch listening to this message, and what I love is that every single week you're gonna hear a message just like this that's gonna help you develop the wisdom you need today to get the life you want tomorrow. The life of meaning and significance. A life that's not just about you, but a life that is about something bigger than yourself, about helping other people find the significance that they are searching for. Every week when you're at Switch, you're gonna sit in a small group with a small group leader who is passionate about helping you make better choices today so you can have a better life tomorrow. Your small group leader is there to help you develop wisdom.
The beginning of wisdom is this, get wisdom. Because when you start looking for wisdom, you're gonna find it. And when you start developing wisdom what you're gonna be able to do is you're gonna be able to make wise choices today. When you're faced with the choices of, "I don't know what to do about this thing so where do I go, where do I look"? You're gonna have an answer. When you're asked to do that thing that you know you shouldn't do, you're gonna have the wisdom to make the choice today that's gonna help you live the life you wanna live tomorrow. Because the life you want tomorrow is built on the choices you make today. And every day, we're faced with choices that honestly, we don't always have answers to, that there's not simple answers to.
And that's where wisdom comes in because wisdom helps you make the right choice today. The right choice even when maybe you don't feel like making it. Even when it feels like the hard choice, because wisdom helps you choose purpose today. Because purpose today leads to significance tomorrow. When the whole world is begging for you to choose pleasure, to choose what feels good right now, wisdom is going to invite you and call you to choose the right thing even when you don't feel like it, because when you choose to look for wisdom, you will absolutely find it. That's gonna help you make the wise choices today that will help you build the life you want tomorrow.
So, what do we need to get from here to there? We need wisdom. How do we get it? We get wisdom. But what I love is this reality that wisdom is never just a what, wisdom is a who. Wisdom is never just an idea, wisdom is a person. Now, there's this guy named Paul who was an early Christian who wrote a letter to a church in Corinth, and this is what he wrote in chapter one verse 30, he says that, "God has united you with Christ Jesus". He says, "For our benefit, God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God, he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin". What Paul said is that, "For our benefit God made him", Jesus Christ, "to be wisdom itself".
Wisdom is never just a what, wisdom is a who. And if you wanna get wisdom, start by following Jesus. Start by looking at the person that is wisdom itself. His life, his message, and his teachings. Because when you're looking for the answer of how I get from here to there, you're gonna hear a lot of answers that may sound like wisdom, but they are so much less than that. You're gonna be told a lot of ideas that may sound good in the moment, but they will not help you make the choices today that will build the life you want tomorrow. You're gonna hear a lot of answers that will sound really, really good, but they come up really, really short.
For example, you've probably heard it said, just be true to yourself. Just be true to yourself. This is something that you'll hear everywhere you look, be true to yourself, but here's the problem, that the self that so many of us are trying to be true to isn't who we were meant to be. It's a false self that is so much less than the version of ourselves that God has created us to be. You've probably heard it said, be true to yourself, but Jesus says, "Die to yourself". He says, "Deny yourself. Take up your cross and come and follow me". Because when you do, you're gonna discover the person that you were originally created to be. The person that God made you to be.
You've probably heard it said, be true to yourself, but Jesus is inviting us to die to the false self, to become the person that we were originally created to be. You've probably heard it said that you should just do whatever makes you happy. Just do what makes you happy, that's how you live a meaningful life. But Jesus says, "Be holy, be set apart, be different". And the thing is, if you do what makes you happy today, it'll feel good for a moment but pleasure today sacrifices purpose tomorrow. But purpose today, I'm telling you, will lead to significance tomorrow. And what Jesus is inviting you to do is to not just do what makes you happy, but to be holy, to be set apart, to live on purpose and for a purpose. A life of meaning and significance, because when you choose to be holy today, I'm telling you, it will help you get where you want to be tomorrow.
Finally, you've probably heard it said, just don't hurt anyone else. Anything is okay as long as you're not hurting anybody else. But Jesus says, "To love everyone the same way that I have loved you". How did Jesus love? He didn't set the standard down here. The love of Jesus wasn't just don't hurt anybody else. The love of Jesus wasn't just tolerate what everyone else was doing. The love of Jesus was full of grace and it was full of truth. The love of Jesus was washing his disciples' feet. It was going to the cross, being tortured and murdered for your sins and for mine so that anybody could be made right with God.
Jesus' love was not tolerance, it wasn't setting the standard here. Jesus love was unconditional, it was sacrificial, and it was selfless. The love of Jesus changes everything. And when you're searching for wisdom, you're gonna hear all kinds of answers that are so much less than wisdom. You're gonna hear people say, "Just don't hurt anyone". But Jesus is saying, "To love everyone the same way that I've loved you". How do you get from here to there? How do you live a life of significance? I think that we should look at the person who had more clout than anyone in history, the person of Jesus.
Jesus had more followers than anybody, anybody, and he still does today. And he started a movement two thousand years ago that is still going strong today. That's why you're here right now, because Jesus, he used his clout for the good of others. Jesus used his power for a purpose. Jesus never settled for clout, he choose wisdom because he is wisdom itself. How do you get from here to there? You make choices today that will build the life you want tomorrow. You choose wisdom. You seek after wisdom and you follow Jesus because life is so much better with wisdom. And wisdom makes us better at life because life is so much better with Jesus. And Jesus makes us better at life. Let's pray:
Heavenly Father, we come before you right now so thankful of who you are and the fact that we get to come together and worship you. I pray right now that we would hear the truth of your word, that we would see the example of your son Jesus, and that we would choose wisdom today.
I know in a room this size there are many of you who would say, "Look, I'm a Christian and I wanna live a meaningful life. I want a life of significance, but I haven't been choosing wisdom. I haven't been making the right choices today, but I want God's help to do exactly that, to make wise choices today". If that's you, would you simply lift up your hand so I can pray for you?
Father God, I thank you for those people that are seeking after wisdom, because what your word tells us is that the beginning of wisdom is to simply get wisdom. That if we look for wisdom we will find it. And I pray that they will feel your power and your presence right now as you will guide them into more and more wisdom, so they can live a life of more and more significance.
Still in an attitude of prayer with every head bowed and every eye closed, there's another group of you that's in here tonight, and as you're hearing this message you realize that the whole idea of living a life of purpose and of significance is something that you've never even thought possible. Maybe it's because of something you've done in the past what somebody has said about you, or maybe just something that you've thought about yourself, but today, something is stirring inside of you and you're realizing that you want more than just going through the motions. You want a life of meaning and a life of purpose, you want wisdom.
What you have to understand is that wisdom is Jesus. That wisdom in flesh is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came to this earth two thousand years ago to make things right between us and God because there was a problem. Every single one of us, as human beings, we've all sinned, we've made mistakes. And those sins have created a separation between us and God, and no matter how hard we try, we can't cover that distance on our own, but God loves you so much that he sent his Son Jesus to this earth two thousand years ago. He lived a perfect life. He died a blameless death on the cross for your sins and for mine.
And on the third day he came back from the dead conquering death, hell, and the grave so that anybody who calls on the name of Jesus would be saved, they would be made new, that they would experience life and life to the full. That they would not be the same, but they would be different, made new through a relationship with Jesus. And that's why you're here tonight, to step into a relationship with Jesus. Because wisdom isn't just a what, it's a who, and that who is Jesus and he is inviting you to follow him. If that's you, and you wanna say yes to following Jesus, then simply lift your hand right now.