Jentezen Franklin - Who's Your Crew? - Part 2
Open your Bibles to Psalms 133. Verse one. Everybody read it out loud. "Behold, how good, how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity". Here in Gainesville, we have Lake Lanier, and during the Olympics in Atlanta, they had the rowing sports owned Lake Lanier, is a beautiful rowing center here. And nations from all over the world came in. The sport of rowing is called and is known as crew, C-R-E-W. And that's what I'm gonna preach on for just a few minutes this morning. Who's your crew? It's funny to me that a sport is so dependent upon the crew, not the superstar, that they actually call it that, crew.
It's a long, skinny shell of a boat that's only 24 inches wide. Huge, huge guys with muscles and weighing hundreds of pounds, up to 1,800, sometimes 2,000 pounds on 24 inches. They can barely get their rear ends in the seats. It's totally dependent upon... The only way you can be the best in the world in that sport is that you have the right crew. The man sitting there is the little guy. He's the coach of the team. He has a megaphone and he's screaming orders. He's facing forward it. They look like it is going that direction, but it's going the other direction. They can't see where they're going. They have to completely trust his voice. Completely trust his voice.
In describing, in one book called the "Boys in the Boat," about nine young men in the pursuit of Olympic gold in 1936 in Berlin, Germany at the Olympics, they said that if you wanna know how difficult that is to do as a team, get eight golfers and ask them to stand on a log in the water that's only 24 inches wide, place their ball down and take golf clubs. They must swing at exactly, in sync, exactly with one another, hit the ball at the exact same time and hit it in the same direction with the same amount of force, and then do that every three seconds for six minutes. And that's how hard it is to do Olympic professional style rowing.
There's really no comparison in sports to the necessity of perfect teamwork other than the sport called Crew. They said that every muscle in your body when you are rowing is being used. Every muscle group is involved. Quads, biceps, triceps, deltoids, hamstrings, hands, every part of your body. A race only lasts six minutes because it takes so much out of the people who do it that the human body can't take much more than that. They almost pass out when they're finished with six minutes of doing what that does to every muscle in your body. It's unbelievable. A well-conditioned rower, like you just saw, would consume pound for pound the same amount of oxygen as a racehorse, which is 8 liters of oxygen per minute.
The average athlete, professional football, someone like that who's running wide open, would consume 4 to 5 liters of oxygen per minute. But in this sport, for six minutes, they take in 8 liters of oxygen per minute. It burns through their body, their muscles are screaming, their bodies are in pain. And even though they're in excellent condition, there are cases where they have bone fractures and ligaments torn because of the exertion of energy and strength, and force. The sport demands that everyone participate exactly as a team, as a crew. If one person is off, if one paddle goes in late, if they're not synchronized in complete unity, it costs them seconds, precious seconds.
And the text said, how beautiful it is when God finds families and people, and marriages, and churches that dwell together, nations that dwell together in unity. God wants our churches, our families, our relationships, our marriages. He wants us to see it as a crew that has the right attitude, that can flow. No other sport demands the complete abandonment of self. This is the key. There are no stars in rowing. There are no Michael Jordans. There are no superstars. No one person is the key. It's a team. What if we begin to understand that even in our relationships? What if we begin to realize that we are so much more powerful of a family if everybody is engaged and we're listening to the boss at the end of the boat telling us what direction to go?
By the way, he has the rudder, he decides the direction. All they do is they just go at his command. No stars, it's a team effort. It's synchronized. It's like an orchestra, like a symphony. They said that when a coach is picking a crew, he does not want clones. He does not want someone who's the same size and same structure because some people have shorter arms, but they have a stronger core. And it's gonna take every muscle in the human body. And some people have more power in their legs, but maybe they're weaker with their arms, but they complete each other. And the unification of that crew makes it so profound and so powerful that it can do things that it could never do by itself.
Because the biggest concern is they said usually a professional team can get up to 40 to 45 strokes in one minute. It's pretty powerful. That is, and they're doing it synchronized together. But there's something called swing. And when the group gets in absolute unity, when their timing is just perfect, when everybody's depending on everybody and they're not doing their own thing and they're not going along and doing what's right in their eyes, and, "I don't care what anybody else thinks".
But when they are a beautiful unit, a beautiful crew, they then enter into what they described, they called it poetry. It's almost like the ship begins to lift out of the water, and they call it swing, and it literally begins to glide so fast that even though the front running team may be going 40, 44, sweating, toiling, oh, oh so much, so much, that when you hit this thing called swing in a rowboat, you can, sometimes you won't find it at 44 or 40, you can hit it at 32 or 33. But because everybody's in unity now, they're all doing their thing over there and they're just going, but this group hits unity. And boom, something happens. And they look like they're just kind of relaxing, but they're in unity, and there they go. They said they will soar past. That's how they win, if they can hit swing.
In the book of John 6, the disciples are in a boat, and they're toiling, and they're rowing. And the Bible said the wind was bad. And they were not getting anywhere. You know why you're not getting anywhere? 'Cause Jesus is not on your ship. But then when they saw Him walking on the water, here's the key, they willingly received Him into their boat. As long as you're saying, "I don't need you, I'll make it on my own". And the winds are blowing and you're just trying and trying, and you might get a little bit and the wind blows you back and you get better and then you have a relapse, and you get this, and you get that. But there's something called swing when the Holy Spirit comes, when Jesus steps on your boat.
I'm not talking about joining a church, I'm talking about you personally encounter Jesus and surrender your life to Him. Suddenly, you don't even have to try like they try. There is a swing and there is a victory across the finish line that the cross has already bought and purchased. Watch this though. "And when they received Him willingly, immediately the boat was at the land where they were going". You understand they were 5 miles out at sea? The Bible says that. They were in the middle, and that's 5 miles in the sea of Galilee. But when Jesus stepped on in the middle of a storm, as soon as He stepped on, immediately, whew, they hit swing. And the boat was on dry land. Jesus can get you through your storm. Clap your hands and praise him right now. But you got a willingly receive Him.
Now, I want to close with this. So, this crew in this book was from Washington University in 1936. They go to Berlin, Germany, they beat Yale, they beat all these other teams and they go to participate in the Olympics. Hitler, of course, was having the Olympics and he was using it as propaganda. He was using it to show the superiority of his race. He was a racist, he was a demonic, evil, evil, evil man. And it was all a big show. And Germany had won five medals, gold medals in the races. But now they came to the most important one. And it was the eight man, including the coach, nine people. And they said that there were 75,000 fans.
And the night before the team USA was to go out and go against Germany, they were the two biggest competitors. The other nations were there, but they were the two. And Hitler really wanted to see America lose. And so, the night before, one of the main people, one of the oarsmen got sick, very, very sick. And the coach had just about made the decision to replace him with an alternative. And the whole team got together. I love this. See the symbology here. The whole team got together, and they went to the coach, and they said, "Coach, we've never hit swing with any of the alternatives, but we've had the magic moment hit with this guy".
And he's sick, he's weak, but we want him on the boat. We don't just want people who've got it together, we don't want just people at peak performance, we don't just want people who know how to get it done and they're winners, but we want this guy who's sick, he's weak, he could hardly, they said hardly hold his head up. But the whole team, watch the crew, said, "We want him on the boat. We'll make up for his weakness and we'll get him going. You just get him in the seat, and we'll take care of it from there".
I don't know who you are, but I want you to know there's a seat for you on this ship right here. And you may be weak, and you may be struggling, and you may be having all kinds of issues. But you know what? All of us have been there, and all of us need the grace of God. And I tell you this, somebody helped me, and somebody helped you, and if they could help us, we can help you. And together we can do what you can't do on your own. And watch this. They get out there, and they actually have the footage of this, but they said that at the beginning, the coach could not hear. The crowd was screaming so loud, the coach could not hear the sound.
So, America goes immediately to last place out of all the nations and Germany to first. And they hold that position all the way to almost the very end of the race. And they said, old Hitler walked out right before the race started. And he walked out, and he looked out and he had his binoculars. And the crowd was going crazy. "Heil Hitler. Heil Hitler". And they were, "Deutschland, Deutschland, Germany, Germany, Germany". Seventy five thousand in bleachers. And there was the finish line. And here comes Germany. And they said Hitler was up and he was watching, and he was hitting his knee and he was laughing. And he said, "We are going to win". But suddenly, the coach saw something that nobody else saw and he actually slowed the team down a little bit, and they hit swing.
And right at the end of the race when it looked like it was impossible, they hit it. And all those other teams are doing this. And here comes the USA and they're just... And they went right through. And they said that the coach couldn't hear to give the commands, the rowers couldn't hear. So, he just started pounding on the boat as loud as he could. And he would tell 'em what tempo to go. And they hit swing. And when they did, he's edged out. And the USA won. And this is what I like, they said Hitler took his binoculars and put 'em down and turned around and walked away. You loser. I wanna see the devil do that. I wanna see him do that in families where somebody's on the boat, you know, you may be weak, you may have a struggle with something. Just get on the boat. Invite, willfully, Jesus to get on the boat. Get in a good crew. Let us come alongside.
If He wouldn't give up on you, we're not gonna give up on you. God's not playing games here this morning. The gospel of Jesus Christ, a simple little message like this can change your destiny. And He doesn't just need strong people, but He loves to take people where they are and wash 'em in His blood, cleanse 'em, set 'em free. It's not rules and regulations, it's a relationship with the one who is your coach, who believes in you more than you believe in yourself. But it never happens until you willfully receive Him into your boat, and immediately things begin to change. The Peace Maker has to come to a family, and when He comes and you invite Him into the division, then the Peace Speaker will say to the storm, "Be still, this family's going where I destined for them to go".
Every head bowed, every eye closed. If you're in this room today and you say, "Pastor Jentezen, I'm toiling and I'm rowing and I'm trying, but the winds are so heavy and contrary, struggling". Who's your crew? Who you listening to more than Him? If you're not listening to Jesus, you are in control of that boat. But the moment He steps on, immediately He declares victory and Satan takes his binoculars, and he was just looking forward to a train wreck. He was looking forward to something that he would, to kill, steal, and destroy. But the moment you decide to put Jesus on that boat and listen to him he puts his binoculars down, and he talk, he turns and walks off wherever demons walk off to. Because when Jesus finds a heart that is one with Him, He declares a blessing.
"There," the text said, Psalms 133. "There He commands," not cursings, "Blessings". There is a supernatural force called the blessing, and when it hits your life, I'm not telling you something I learned, I'm telling you something I have experienced. There is a blessing that the cross has provided. It's a plus, not a subtraction sign. It's a plus sign. It's a positive thing when you find Jesus. "Pastor, I'm far from God and I want to know Him. I want to know Him like I've never known Him. I need Him on, I wanna willfully receive Him onto my ship. Pray for me". If that's you, boldly lift your hand right where you're standing. Boldly. Beautiful, beautiful. Hands at every campus. Just keep it high. Just keep it high and unashamed. Amazing.
Every one of you that raised your hands, slip out of your seat and come stand right down here. Don't talk yourself out of it. Come on. I'm the coach. I got the megaphone. Get out. Every one of you who came forward, this is the most important decision you will ever make in your life. So, pray this prayer. The church is gonna pray it with you. At every campus, they're gonna pray this prayer. God brought you here. God wanted you to hear this message and He wanted you to hear that song. "He's not done with you yet. He's not done with me yet. There's so much more to the story. You're not done with me yet" Throw your hands up and say, "Jesus". Say it out loud everybody:
Jesus, I receive you as my Savior, Wash me, cleanse me. I willfully receive you onto my boat. I'm forgiven. I'm born again. I'm cleansed by the blood of the cross. And now you're gonna write the rest of my story, and it's good.
Let's worship now, come on. "You're not done with me yet". Throw those hands up all over this building. Pray for your families. Receive the blessing this morning. Lord, I pray for families. I pray for reconciliation. I pray that communication lines that have been torn, Satan will put his binoculars down. That he'll walk away and say, "They just shut the runway down for my power in their life, in that family". In marriages this morning, let him restore that unity between husband and wife. He can do it. "He's not done with me yet". You mean that. God means it too. Oh, hallelujah.