James Meehan - What Will Be Your Defining Moment?
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Well, good evening, Switch. So thankful to be with you tonight. You are in for a treat, because we are continuing the conversation on wise choices, answering the question, how do we get from here to there? Right, if you were here week one, we talked about what is wisdom and how to start finding it. Week two, we talked about God wisdom versus Google wisdom. Week three, we talked about learning from our experience. If you missed a week, you missed a lot, so make sure you go on YouTube, go watch them. They will absolutely be worth your time. This week, what we're gonna do is we're gonna look at this reality, right, that when we're thinking about how to get from here to there, we can see all of these other people who have made it there, right? And they've had these moments that we might call defining moments, moments where they finally made it, and moments that made them.
And if you're anything like me, then you might find yourself asking the question, all of these people have had their moment, so when am I gonna get mine? Right, we look at these people. For example, Tom Holland, who is Spider-man in the Marvel Universe. Right, the thing about Tom Holland is before he became Spider-man, nobody knew who he was. But then he got cast as Spider-man, and that was a defining moment for him. Another example is Justin Bieber. Right, before Justin Bieber made it big, he was making YouTube videos of him singing, until one day an agent stumbled upon a video, and now he is one of the most recognized and popular singers of his generation. Or we could look at Taylor Swift, when she made the switch from country music to pop, right, that was a defining moment for her. Or the Paul brothers, Jake and Logan Paul, right, they blew up when Vine blew up, this app, where before it, they were nobodies.
Now everybody knows their name. They had these defining moments, moments where they made it, and moments that made them. And sometimes I find myself asking the question, when am I gonna have my moment? You know, when I was in high school, the moment that I was waiting for, was the moment I finally became a man. The moment I hit puberty. The moment where my voice dropped, where I got some hair on my armpits, and on my face, because my best friend was the guy where he would shave, every morning before school, and by the time we left school, he literally had a full beard. And there is just another level of confidence that you walk with when you have a full beard. Right, when you see somebody with a beard, you don't wanna go against that person in whatever sport you're competing in.
When you see somebody with a beard, you think, dang, that dude probably gets all the ladies. And so all my friends, they're hitting puberty, you know, they're getting tall, dark and handsome, and I'm sitting over here, short, slow and weak. My mom said, "It's okay, James, you're a late bloomer". I said, "Thanks, Mom". And what's crazy is like my voice would crack all the time, and even today, even today, one of my biggest fears is that I'll be preaching a message like this, and my voice'll do this, and it will crack. And it's like not an irrational fear, it has happened. I can count it on two hands the amount of times, I'll just be preaching, I'm like, preaching preaching, and then all of a sudden, I'll be talking about Jesus, and something powerful, and then it happens. All these other people, they be hittin' puberty. They had their moment, they're men, come on, God.
When am I gonna have mine? Right, there's these moments, these defining moments, where we look around and we see all these people who have had their moment, and we're waiting for ours to finally show up. We're waiting for ourselves to have that moment. Right, the moment where people finally notice us, right, when we get TikTok famous. When we make the starting team, for whatever sport we're trying out for. The moment where that person finally says yes to going on a date with us. That moment, where we know we're gonna have it, and it's gonna make us, and we're gonna finally have what we're looking for. Those defining moments.
Here's the problem, is that all of those people that we look at, and they have what we want, those defining moments we see were never a single, standalone moment. Everyone's defining moment was one moment, built on another, built on another, built on another, until finally, that moment showed up. Here's the problem, so many of us, we sit around, waiting for that moment to show up, and then we start comparing ourselves to other people who have already had that moment happen. And then that comparison leads to this sense of insecurity, that I'm not good enough, and that's why my moment hasn't shown up. No matter how hard I try, I'll never be good enough, and that's why I don't have what I'm looking for. That's why I haven't made the transition from here to there. It leads to a sense of frustration. It's like man, I'm working my tail off, and the moment still hasn't come.
Until that frustration turns into bitterness, into just a critical nature, where we start tearing down other people, to make ourselves feel better. Or it can turn into a sense of apathy, because I tried so hard, over and over again, and it never works, so why should I try anymore? You see the problem is we sit around waiting for that moment to show up. The problem is that we can never control when that moment will come. All we can do is make the most of this moment. We can never control when that moment will show up. All we can do is make the most of this moment, right here. And here's what's beautiful is that wisdom makes the most of every moment, because every moment is a defining moment, because every moment demonstrates who you are today, and defines who you will become tomorrow.
Here's what we learned, we learned that life, the life that we want tomorrow, is built on the choices we make today. And if we want to make it there someday, if we wanna have that defining moment, we have to have the wisdom to make the most of this moment, because we can never control when that moment will show up. All we can do is make the most of this moment. We have to see every moment, as a defining moment, because every moment demonstrates who you are today, and defines who you'll become tomorrow. How do you get from here to there? How do you do that? Well you make the most of every moment. To further illustrate this, I wanna tell you a story about a guy named Matthew.
Now what you need to know about Matthew is that he lived 2,000 years ago, he was one of the authors of one of the most famous book in history, he was one of the original founders of the most popular movement, the most influential movement the world has ever seen. Right, this dude had so much clout that there are literally some of you that are hearing this message, that were probably named after him. That's this Matthew, he was one of Jesus's early followers, and he wrote a portion of the Bible, that we call the gospel according to Matthew. And what I love is when we're looking at this story, what we're gonna see is we're gonna see a defining moment for Matthew. We're gonna see a moment where he encounters Jesus. And that's a moment that changes everything.
But as we look at this story, what we're gonna see is that that moment wasn't a single, standalone moment. That that moment was the result of so many other moments that led up to it, that that was a moment that demonstrated who he was then, and defined who he would become in the future. So let's look at the gospel according to Matthew, we're gonna start in chapter 9, verse 9, and we're gonna read from there, and here's what we're told, we're told that Jesus was walking along, and as he was, he saw a man named Matthew, sitting at his tax collector's booth. Now, let's stop there, Matthew was sitting at his tax collector's booth. Here's the deal, he didn't just randomly show up there. He was sitting at this booth because that was his job, he was a tax collector.
What's important to know about tax collectors in this day, is that nobody liked 'em. Tax collectors were considered scum, because the way that they made their profit was by ripping off the people that they were collecting taxes from. And so people who were tax collectors were often despised by their friends, their family, and their neighbors, because they made their money by ripping off their friends, their family, and their neighbors. So there were a lot of moments that led up to Matthew choosing the career of a tax collector. There were a lot of moments that led up to Matthew sitting here, at this tax collector's booth. And then what we're told is that Jesus says to him, "Follow me, and be my disciple". Follow me and be my disciple. This is a defining moment for Matthew. And what's interesting is Matthew, what we're told, is he gets up, and he follows Jesus.
So, this is a guy who has a career, he's probably making a good living, nobody likes him, and then some dude named Jesus, that he's only heard stories about at this point, shows up and says, "Hey, come follow me and be my disciple". Right, there is no evidence that's gonna say that Jesus is gonna take him to a better place. Like he doesn't know any of that stuff yet, because it hasn't been written. The story hasn't been written, Matthew hasn't written it yet. But as we're looking at this, here's what Matthew did, he got up and he followed him. Why? Because anything's better than being a tax collector. What's interesting though is we're told that after Matthew followed him, later, he invited Jesus and his disciples into his home as dinner guests.
Along with many tax collectors, and other disreputable sinners, so Jesus goes to Matthew's house, and he is, along with a bunch of other sinners, and people that you don't wanna hang out with, those are the people that are hanging out. Then the Pharisees, they see this, these are the religious leaders of the time, and they ask Jesus's disciples, "Hey, why does your teacher eat with such scum"? They're talking about Matthew, they're talking about Matthew's friends. Matthew, a dude who got up, left his career to follow Jesus, is now being called scum at his own house, at this party that he's throwing, to help bring other people to Jesus. And this is the defining moment, because in this moment, Matthew's gonna find out is Jesus really who people tell me that he is? Are the stories true? How Jesus responds to this accusation, calling these people scum, is gonna change everything for Matthew.
And so, here's what Jesus says, he says, "Healthy people don't need a doctor, sick people do". Then he says, "Now go and learn the meaning of this scripture, I want you to show mercy not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners". I haven't come to call the people who have it all together. I've come to call broken, scummy people, just like Matthew, and the people he's invited to this party. This is a defining moment for Matthew, because Matthew is seeing that Jesus is who other people told him he was. Matthew is seeing that this Jesus guy is who he wanted him to be, a person who sees him for who he is, not a scum, like everybody else calls him. But is somebody that is worth loving, that he's somebody that is worth knowing, that he's somebody that is worth living, and investing in, and inviting to be a part of Jesus's movement.
Matthew is sitting here with Jesus, and he sees Jesus say here's the deal, I didn't come for self proclaimed saints. I came for self aware sinners. I came for people like Matthew. I came for people like me. Jesus came for people like you, people who are hurting, who are lost, and are simply looking for hope. This is a defining moment for Matthew. What's interesting is after this moment, Jesus has so many more of these incredible moments that Matthew writes down in this gospel according to Matthew. And we know about this moment, because it has such an impact on Matthew's life, that he said I need to write this down, because there are gonna be people 2,000 years later that need to hear this story, that Jesus comes for people just like me, and just like you. He's not coming for people who have it all together, but for the people that are broken and searching for hope.
I'm gonna write this story down, because this is a defining moment for me. That's what I love about Jesus is every time we have an interaction with Jesus, it's a defining moment. It demonstrates who you are today. And it defines who you'll become tomorrow. Wisdom, it makes the most of every moment. And we see Matthew having the wisdom, in one moment after another, to make the most of that moment, to make the choice then, that led to the life he wanted, to lead to the life of significance, of purpose, and of meaning that he had been searching for, but he could never find until that moment, the moment Jesus showed up. So how do you get from where you are today to where you wanna be tomorrow? As you look around, you see all of these people who have had these defining moments, and you're waiting for your moment to show up. What do you do then?
You have the wisdom to make the most of every moment, because this moment is your moment. This moment is a defining moment for you. This moment, right here, will shape who you become tomorrow. So how do you make the most of every moment? How do you do that, how do you have the wisdom to make this moment count? You ready for it, three things. First you gotta stop, then you gotta drop, and then you gotta roll, come on somebody. You stop, drop and roll.
Let me explain, let me explain. So first you stop what you're doing, you pause, and you simply take a breath. You drop whatever's going on, and you, literally or figuratively, depending on the context, you drop to your knees, and you ask God, help me to have the wisdom to make the most of this decision, to make the most of this moment. Or maybe you're not a Christian, and this prayer thing, you don't really get it, here's what I would tell you to do. Stop, take a breath, drop what you're doing, and ask the question, what would a wise person do? In this situation, what would a wise person do? And if you ask that question, I'm telling you right now, it's gonna help you make a better decision than if you don't. And for those of you who are Christians, if you pray and ask God for him to give you wisdom, to make the most of this moment, the he will absolutely give it to you.
So first you stop, you take a breath, then you drop and you pray and ask God to help you make the most of this moment, and then finally you roll, you roll on with the rest of your day, doing the best you can to make the most of every moment, because you know that wisdom makes the most of every moment, because every moment is a defining moment. It demonstrates who you are today, and it defines who you will become tomorrow. And what we know is that in order to get the life we want tomorrow, we have to make wise choices today. When I think about defining moments, I think about a defining moment in history. It was the moment where everything changed. The moment when Jesus didn't stay dead. The moment when the tomb was empty. The moment when Jesus proved that he was who he said he was, the first and only man in history to predict his own death, and resurrection, and then to pull it off.
If you don't believe that's a defining moment, then just look at your calendar, the year right now, 2020, why is that the year? It's because 2020 years ago, Jesus Christ, the son of God, came to this earth, lived a perfect life, died a sinless death, and on the third day, was raised from the dead. If Jesus didn't come back from the dead, we wouldn't remember him. That moment defines how we tell time, and that moment shaped thousands, millions, billions of people around the world, because Jesus, his life, his death, his resurrection, was the defining moment in history. But Jesus's death and resurrection wasn't a stand alone moment.
You see, that didn't happen until the end of Jesus's life, at the age of 33, so there were 33 years worth of moments leading up to that moment. And this is what I love about Jesus, is over, and over, and over, and over, and over again, for 33 years, Jesus had the wisdom to make the most of every moment, knowing that every moment was a defining moment. Demonstrating who he was then, and defining who he would become, and what he would do. It was all leading to that moment, when Jesus conquered death, when Jesus changed history, when Jesus changed you, and Jesus changed me.
So how do we get from here to there? We have to first recognize that the life we want tomorrow is built on the choices we make today. We have to recognize that the defining moment that we're waiting for, we can't control when it's going to show up. All we can do is make the most of this moment, and wisdom makes the most of every moment. How do we do that? We stop, we drop, and we roll. We stop, we take a breath. We drop, we pray and we ask God to give us the wisdom to make the most of this moment. And we roll on, making the most of every moment, because every moment is a defining moment. That's how you get from here to there, from where you are today, to where you want to be tomorrow. Let's make the most of every moment, because this moment, this is your moment. Let's pray:
Heavenly Father, I thank you so much of this moment, where we get to hear the truth of who you are, we get to hear the power and the message of your Son, Jesus. I pray that every single one of us would lean in, that we would recognize that this moment matters, that every moment matters, that every moment is a gift that we can choose to make the most of.
I know there's a group of you that are in here, and you would say, yeah, I'm a Christian, but I recognize that tonight, I've just been waiting for that moment to show up. And I'm done waiting. I wanna have the wisdom to make the most of this moment. I wanna choose to make wise choices today, so that I can have a meaningful life tomorrow. If that's you, would you simply lift your hand up, so I can pray for you.
Father God, I thank you for those hands going up. And those students that are saying that today is the day where they start making the most of every moment, where they make wise choices today, to live the life you've called and created them to live tomorrow, that God, they would choose today to step into the purpose that you've given them, that you would give them the discipline, the wisdom, the courage to be that person today. Not waiting for some moment in the future, but making the most of this moment, right here, and right now.
I know there's another group of you in here with every head bowed, and every eye closed, and this moment is your moment. This moment can be the defining moment of your entire life. You see the reality is is that as human beings, every single one of us, we've all sinned, we've made mistakes, we've chosen to do things that hurt ourselves, others, and the heart of God, and those choices have created a distance between us and God, but God, he loves you so much, that 2,000 years ago, he became a person, that person was Jesus, and Jesus lived a perfect life for your sins, and for mine.
He died a brutal death on the cross, and on the third day he was raised from the dead, conquering death, hell, and the gave, so that anybody who chooses to say Jesus, I want to follow you, that they would be made new, they'd be forgiven of their sins, they would receive his power, his love, his grace, his truth, in that moment. And this moment is your moment, the moment where you turn from your sins, and you turn towards God. If that's you and you wanna say yes to Jesus today, make the most of this moment, right here, right now, then lift your hand, right now.