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Watch 2022 online sermons » Levi Lusko » Levi Lusko - Getting Off The Ground

Levi Lusko - Getting Off The Ground


Levi Lusko - Getting Off The Ground
TOPICS: The Last Supper on the Moon

Welcome back. Week three. Last Supper on the moon. We are so glad to have you with us. Every Fresh Life location, church online, partner churches around the world. Thank you for being with us. If you have a Bible, we are in John chapter five today. John's gospel, chapter five. We are exploring, not in the book, the Last Supper on the Moon, but we are exploring seven signs in John's gospel that he says can tell us who Jesus is. Seven different miracles. Seven different dramatic illustrations of who Jesus is, of what he intended to accomplish, what he wants to do in our lives today. And these seven signs can give us a glimpse into who he is.

In the Last Supper on the Moon, we look into the seven things Jesus said as he was hanging on the cross. We look at the seven letters he wrote to the seven churches. And we also looked at, in the book at seven different things that he says that he is. But these, as we look at, in connection to those messages and those themes give us a picture of what he wants to do. And I believe what he wants to do in all of our lives, and the title of our message today is getting off the ground. Getting off the ground. That was whole, NASA's whole thing they wanted to do. They're trying to get man off the Earth for the first time to another heavenly body, namely, the moon 240,000 miles away. How are we going to do it when there is something that, all of our lives, has been holding us down? Gravity, right? I mean, I don't have to jump here to show you that it's working still. At this moment, currently, I mean, getting off the ground is the problem. Even if you can get up, it's going, and Newton taught us that. It's coming back. How do we get off the ground?

When I believe that is God's plan, God's hope for all of us. I believe there is something not only just scientifically speaking, but something that just pulls us down. Pulls our focus down. Pulls our attention down. Wants to hold our progress down. What God has for us. There are these invisible forces that are always pulling us down. The Bible says, our battle is not against flesh and blood. Your problem is not your cousin or your coworker or your husband. The Bible says, behind the scenes, in any battle we are facing is this invisible battle. There are spiritual forces at play. And these things want to keep you down on the ground. Getting off the ground. That wasn't just NASA's goal in the space race, it's also God's plan for your life that you would set your mind, your focus, your heart, your citizenship, not on the Earth, but on the heavens. God wants you to aim higher. Whatever it is today that you have in your heart for your life as what you hope to accomplish, as what you hope life will be, I believe God wants that to be bigger than you could possibly ever conceive of. But different, probably, than you would ever in your wildest imagination concoct.

Now, interestingly enough, for NASA to get off the ground, that meant going into the pool. And all along the history of manned spaceflight has been the simulation and the preparation for missions by going into the pool. Now, the Mercury VII, the first, and it's interesting. The sevens show up not just in the Bible, but all across NASA's history as well. The first seven astronauts, they called them the Mercury Seven. They did get ready for it. I have a photo here for some of their missions by, this was pretty chill, right? They're in Florida. It's Cocoa Beach, right? It feels like spring break to me. They're like, how are we going to get out of this module? We're going to do it here with these rafts and it's awesome. That was the first, but that was certainly not the end or the last of NASA being in water.

When Buzz Aldrin was getting ready for his Gemini 12 mission, they realized there was really no way to practice for spacewalks on Earth except by being underwater. Because if you weight the human body properly, you can simulate the conditions of being in outer space. And so this is a photo of Buzz Aldrin, of doing his mission. Of course, there are standby scuba divers ready to pull him out if he starts to fall prey to hypothermia or springs a leak in his suit. And so he got ready. So he was doing all of the mission underwater. And then, here he is doing the actual mission. The exact same maneuver. So this is now Buzz Aldrin in Gemini 12 doing the same thing. And he had figured out and felt what the movements were going to be like and train them over and over again in the water. So when he got to be in outer space, he kind of had it down. And this led NASA to create bigger and bigger pools to be able to simulate bigger and bigger aspects of the mission.

Whereas today, if you go to Houston, you can see the neutral buoyancy lab. It is the largest indoor pool on the planet. And it houses, among other things, a simulation of the International Space Station, which, by the way, is the size of a football field. Now, that's not how big this pool is because they've broken it up into little chambers and put pieces of it over here. So it's not exactly the same orientation. But here's a photograph of the neutral buoyancy lab. This is 400 feet wide, 200 feet the other direction, and four stories tall. And literally, they'll go underwater and spend hours. They spend 10 hours in the pool for every single hour they will have a spacewalk. And it's no small feat to get geared up to go into the pool.

Here's a photo of my friend Shane Kimbrough getting put into the EMU as he gets dropped into the pool. Does he look happy? Shane, if you're watching right now, he usually texts me after the service is over. You don't look happy to me. But this thing weighs 350 pounds that he's wearing. This apparatus that he's wearing. And they put it over him with a big crane. Drops it down. And then, he gets put into the water. Now, he's free. Now he's flying around in the outer space. You would never even know it's so much like, but they have to be so careful that even one tiny hole in that garment, and of course, you could drown very quickly. So they get ready to go off the ground by going into the water.

Interestingly enough, here in John's gospel, we are seeing Jesus impact a man who all he wants to do is get off the ground. And Jesus is going to call him to leave the pool to get there. And that's what we find. It says, after this, there was a feast of the Jews. And Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now, there is, in Jerusalem, by the sheep gate, a pool, which in Hebrew is called Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. And then, in verse four, a verse that we'll need to explain because if you're reading translations of the Bible that are different than mine, you might not have this verse at all or it might appear with a footnote. And it says, because, the reason for that is because it's a commentary. An Angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water. Then, whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was made well of whatever disease he had.

Now verse five, back to the Bible. A certain man was there who had an infirmity 38 years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, he said to him, do you want to be made well? The sick man answered him, sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up. But while I am going or coming, another steps down before me. Jesus said to him, rise. Take up your bed and walk. And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. The Jews, therefore, said to him who was cured, it's the Sabbath. It's not lawful for you to carry your bed like that. He answered them and said, he who made me well said to me, take up your bed and walk. Then, they asked him, who's the man who said to you take up your bed and walk? But the one who was healed did not know who it was for Jesus had withdrawn a multitude being in that place. Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, see, you have been made well. Sin no more lest a worse thing come upon you. The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

And so, Father, we pray that you would speak to us through your word. You would open the eyes of our hearts to see exactly what it is that you have for us here. That we would all have our eyes open to see the ways in which we are on the ground and you're calling us up, calling us higher. The ways in which we are settling for less than you have for us. And we pray that if anyone has come in here today and does not have that saving relationship with you that you intend for us to have that we may have life in your name, we pray that miracle would happen of your spirit calling and drawing and the human heart responding. And that grace of repentance and the humbling at times that is the pathway to you honoring. And we just asked for you to do something special, something powerful, something that only you could do in our lives. And we ask this in Jesus's name, Amen.


Getting off the ground. Here we are introduced to a man who the text says for 38 years has been paralyzed. For 38 years has been unable to walk. That is unthinkable to think about in that time, in that day, in that world, what it would have been like to not have the ability of mobility. To be able to walk. There was no wheelchair technology. There was no ADA law. There was no mercy or kindness. It was dirt roads. It was stone steps. And to think of this man lying there, obviously, with no one from his own mouth, no friends, no family at this point who are present or willing to take care of him. And so here he sits in a place called Bethesda, which in the Hebrew it means a house of mercy, or some have translated it a house of compassion. A place that was given over to the poor, to the desperate, to the sick.

Five porches. Five coverings that gave relief from the relentless Middle Eastern sun. And this is his condition. This is his situation. This is his life. He is helpless. He's sitting there surrounded by others who are as sick or sicker than he is. He has no one to help him to get better. And his only help, his only hope, his only plan for relief is if I can just get into the water for the spring would bubble up. And the excavations and archaeologists have found and uncovered this exact location. A place of pools. A place fed by an underground spring. And so you could imagine, at certain points of the day or times of the year, the spring would bubble up in such a way as to cause there to be just a bloop, a little bloop. Like a spring fed pond. It was just all of a sudden, what's that noise? That's just the water circulating.

And so whenever that would happen, whether it was folklore or something God had done at some point in time, the text comments on why he would be sitting there. Why they were there. For it was commonly believed that if you could be the first one to touch the bubbles when the water was troubled. If you could be the first one into the pool, like my kids calling shotgun, right? Just relentless. Like the first one in there. And so the scene, you can see it in your mind's eye. Everyone's there waiting. Everyone's there watching. Their family, if they had anyone in their life, that would be convinced. Drop me off there at the pool of Bethesda. Drop me off there. I will sit there. I have nowhere else to go. There's nothing else I can do. But I will sit there and hope. I will sit there and wait. I will sit there and watch on the off chance that today's my day. On the off chance that the water is stirred and God sends an angel to trouble the water.

So here this man is hoping for a miracle that could change everything. For almost 40 years, just shy of four decades, he had just been hopeless and waiting. And then, so finally, the day comes and Jesus approaches. It's not what the man hoped for. It's not what the man asked for. So in a sense, you have to realized, God disappointed the man. For he did not get what he wanted. He walks away. He sings and dances. He's doing cartwheels. I mean, you can only imagine the excitement and the air splits and the moonwalks that's taking place as this guy, with such joy, gets to walk again.

If you haven't ever seen it, I highly recommend you get on YouTube and watch the video footage of John Young on Apollo 16 saluting the flag. Because all the missions they put up flags. In all the missions, there would be some sort of ceremony. In all the missions they would salute. But John Young was like a little kid. John Young is my spirit animal, OK? When you watch the footage, he's leaping and bounding and he's like, he's just, he's so excited. He's not able to hold it together. A lot of the astronauts kind of kept it together. Come on, be professional. We're astronauts here. We're not excited. But he's like, screw it. I'm here on the moon. I get my moment. He's doing air salutes. He's just so, that's how I picture this man. That's how I picture the man in the pool of Bethesda who walks away. I mean, can you imagine after 40 years to be given your legs back. And it would seem that he had not been born paralyzed. It would seem he had, at some point along the way, lost, and I think that would be maybe even more cruel to have it and to lose it. To know what it felt like to run through a field. To know what it felt like to be able to kick your legs and churn up water and swim. But that's the hopeless part of this.

So even if this man could have gotten into the pool, what did he think was going to happen besides drowning? Even if he could have gotten there, how did he expect, it's a deep cavern. I've stood there at the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem. And to think this man had any chance. I mean, he was just hoping for a miracle, but he really didn't have a plan at all. And here comes Jesus who disappoints him in one sense. Because he did not get an angel. He did not get the churning of the waters and his turn at the fount where the glory was coming out. Instead, he got Jesus showing up one day uninvited, unexpected, asking a very rude question. If you think about it. And almost all the people I know who have seen God do great things in their life in biblical history and in any history have to first pass the barrier of being unwilling to be offended. Because God seldom does what we would hope he would do.

And along the way, there are almost always opportunities to get off. Opportunities to be offended. Opportunities to say, forget this. This is not what I thought it was going to be like. This is not what I thought you were going to be like. And so Jesus rolls up and it's not an angel. In fact, this man gets, you could say the commander of angels armies. And so he didn't get what he asked for, he got what he didn't even realized he needed. The one who hung the stars walks up one day. And standing over the man he asks him, do you want to be made well? Sir, I have no one was the response. No one to put me into the water. All these other people are faster than me. They push me out of the way. I've been kept back. I've been held down. I haven't been given a fair circumstance. I can't be well because of him and because of her and because of God and because of this and because of that.

Then, Jesus gives the command, off the ground. Rise. Take up your mat and walk. And as we pick through this and try and understand and get our bearings, I believe, of course, I'm not suggesting or insinuating that any situation in your life is to be compared exactly to what this man was going through. But I believe there are lessons that we can extract from Jesus's interaction with this man that can help us to understand how it is that we're going to get off the ground and the excuses that are holding us back. And the situations that we've allowed and the patterns that we've been stuck in. I believe God wants to get you off the ground. I think there are things that you've tolerated for far too long that God wants to set you free from. Five things for the five porches. The text said there were five porches in this area of Bethesda.

So I've jotted down five ingredients to getting off the ground. First of all, there has to be a moment where you identify and you realize the false, I wrote it down this way, assumptions that you've believed. You must begin by identifying faulty assumptions. To assume that just because the ground is wet, it must have rained. When someone may have just been playing with a hose. You can't just see wet ground and assume that rain was there. So in this man's situation, there were false assumptions that he was believing. False assumptions that he was holding on to. In other words, he believed, I need this to be this. I need to be first in order to be healed. I need to get into this water in order to walk. I need to be faster than this blind guy. I need to be quicker than this guy over here who's deaf. I need to be better than these other people. If I get this, then I will be this. And I'm sure that, in all of our lives, we would say, if I had blank, then I would be blank. I might not be pleasant now, but that's because I didn't get the promotion. I might not be good to be around, but that's because of the way I was raised. That's because this is in my past. That's because this is my story.

We hold on to false assumptions. We come into agreement with things that are simply not true. This man holding on to these things was explaining to the Lord of Glory why he couldn't be better. I am not as fast as, what he's doing is he's putting his miracle into their hands. He's putting his mobility into their control. I can't be for, Jesus didn't ask him, are you fast or are you slow? Or did the angel show up on Tuesday but you got dropped off on Wednesday. He said, do you want to be made well? And the man said, I can't because. Then he began to argue. And I believe there are things in your life, things in my life that Jesus wants to free us from. But we believe false assumptions. The truth is, we are really bad at predicting even just what will make our own happiness. We would say, if I made this much money, then I'd be happy. When studies show that once you get to a certain point, there's no happiness gained from more money.

And we might say, well, if I went through this hard thing, I couldn't go live on. I couldn't possibly be well. When at times, that might be going through the hard thing that is the very thing that God uses in your life to deepen you. To make you more humble. To make you more kind. To make you more sweet. That might be going through the thing that you think shouldn't be the thing you go through that gets you to the place that God actually wants you, that you yourself want to be. That's why the Bible says, rejoice at various trials that come upon you.

Now, the last thing we feel like doing when a trial comes is rejoicing. But that's because we have false assumptions about what's truly going to lead to happiness. What's truly going to get us off the ground. And so we have to start by identifying the false assumptions that are at play. It's interesting to me that what this man thought was going to cure his situation was actually the problem. His eyes were on the water. His eyes were on the pool. Could it be that, in your life, what you thought what at one point cure your problem has now become the problem? The things you look to to take the edge off of how you were feeling or to keep your mind off of what your were going through has now become the new problem that Jesus wants to free you from. The man thought the pool had his solution, but Jesus knew it was the problem. Because as long as his eyes were on the pool and the moving of the water and the bubbles and these other people around him that he wasn't going to have his eyes on Jesus and be walking like he was meant to.

For all of us, there are different assumptions, different lies that we have believed. I just don't, people in my family can't, no one who I know has ever made it. Marriage is just something that I, we have lies, that we have beliefs. So an exercise, at some point in the day or week would be to journal. And just to write down maybe some lies that you believe. Some faulty assumptions that you've held on to so you can renounce them in Jesus's name. Amen. Secondly, we have to be willing to ask hard questions. Getting off the ground involves asking hard questions. It is a hard question that Jesus asks him? Do you want to be made well? Well, of course, I do. Why would anyone want to be sick? Why would anyone want to, but maybe Jesus knew that, not only did the man hold on to the faith or the belief in the healing being only in the pool. But maybe after a certain point, this man had stopped even stirring when the water was agitated.

Why did Jesus pick this man out of all the people? Perhaps it was because he had completely given up hope. Maybe at first, every time the water would move, he would go. He would run. He would rush. But now, he kept his back towards it, perhaps. Or he was still propped up there because where was there to go but the House of Mercy. But maybe he didn't even stir anymore. He had come in fifth before. He had come in seventh before. So why even try. I'll just be disappointed. Was it, perhaps, when Jesus showed up just after the water had moved and there had been that melee, that rush, that surge, right? The moment at Disneyland when they dropped the rope and they say, soccer mom, start your engines, right? And they say walk, don't run to your first ride.

The first time I saw that whole scene, by the way, that freaked me out, right? These kind people pushing strollers turned into demons. I mean, it was like Chariots of Fire. I swear I saw blades come out of the wheels of someone's stroller, right? My goodness. I would like to think that I'm a little more mature than that, but I'm not. Something comes over you, right? You just know you're not going to wait five hours in a line. One time I was holding Daisy and Clover's hand and they said, walk don't run to your first ride. There's literally a rope that drops. And when that rope drops, all these thousands of people, right? The people at the way back went for Starbucks. You fools. You never stop for Starbucks. You just get there. You just go. And we had finally ended up at the very front of the pack and the rope drops.

And so, at first, I was playing it cool and speed walking. But then Clover egged me on. I saw in her the need to achieve. I know that look. And I said, yes, honey. And Daisy's a rule follower. So Daisy was like stiff legging us. And she was like, we're like, no, she's holding us back. This is not good. And so we got to the cobblestones right under the Cinderella's castle or Snow White castle and it was slick. And so Clover and I were trying to run. We're pulling Daisy now. She's just has locked her legs up and is just being dragged across. But she goes down. And we're like, no. The barbarian hordes are coming. And so pull her back to her feet. And she's like, dad, I'm hurt. You can bleed on the ride, right? The happiest place on Earth. $7 per minute that we're here is the price. I did the math. That's if we don't get the churro. We had the churro.

But I imagine this scene, this surge, this race, ever since I first read John 5. I remember reading John 5. I just got saved like 10 minutes previously. And someone told me read the Gospel of John. And so I'm reading John. And I remember reading, thinking, oh my gosh, all these sick people are just gathered around this pool waiting. And if there's any splashes, they all surge in. And I remember thinking, if I was a kid in that era, I would be tossing pebbles over the wall. I just know I would. And I guarantee you that is a sign of sickness, OK? That's how I read the Bible as a child. I mean, yesterday. But after being disappointed, right, that's disturbing, isn't it? But it's funny, and you'll never not think of that when you read John 5. You're welcome for the rest of your life. But I just get this image of the man being disappointed so many times. The Bible says that the disappointment can eventually make the heart sick. And if a man's spirit gets sick, it has a power to impact your whole life.

Maybe some of you, your body is fine but your spirit is on the ground. Your spirit is sick. Not even moving anymore. Not even trying anymore. At one point, getting that business off the ground meant something. There was that project. There was that passion. There was that zeal for the Lord. We're going to win people to Christ. I'm going to tell people about Jesus. I'm going to invite people to church. I want people in my family. But you tried and it didn't go well. Other people got there first. You see other people getting used by God. Other people getting blessed by God. So now your eyes are on them and you're justifying your inaction based on how God is working in other people's life and not yours. And it didn't work in the past. So why even try now.

So Jesus doesn't say, let's get you better. He says, do you even want it? Does he say to you in some way, do you even want to be made well? Or have you gotten so comfortable on the ground? Has this mat now so become your home? Has disappointment become the cave that you're choosing to stay in? He does not speak to ability, he speaks to desire. Do you even want to fly? Are you willing to aim high? Are you willing to try? Are you willing to fight? Are you willing to go? Do you want to be made well? It's a hard question. Augustine, in his early days walking with God, knowing God, growing in his walk with God, he's reportedly the one to have first prayed the prayer, God make me pure, but not yet. God, I want to change this area of my sex life. This are, I really want to deal with that. But he was honest enough to say, deal with that God, but not yet. And I think, for some of us, there are areas of our life that we know full well are holding us back.

And Jesus comes in and says, with us acknowledging what it's going to take. What the price of being made well that's going to be. We realized that. And when we say God deal with that area, but just not yet. I do want to walk, but can you come back tomorrow. I want to get off the ground, but I'll do it when I'm older because then I want to serve you. But right now, honestly, I'm having fun. So I don't want to have my sights set on heaven because I know the cost. And you know what the cost was going to be for this man? He would have to leave his old life as a victim behind. For as long as he was the one whose miracle was constantly being taken by other people, he was entitled to remain crusty and salty and jaded. He could justify his bitterness because life was unfair. And God never shined on me. But the moment he was given a healing, the moment he was given a calling, he would be now forced to choose between being a victim and a victor because you can't do both at the same time.

And I think that's some part of Jesus's question here. Are you willing to leave what goes along with your dysfunction? Because for all of us, to some degree, we can stay in it for so long it starts to feel comfortable. And it starts to feel good here. And now, I can justify being mean because it's cruel. But if I taste the grace of God, if I taste the mercy of God, I'm going to have to leave all that behind. For that which has been my identity. I'm the one trampled on by life. I'm the one who feels entitled to being vindictive and being cruel and being mean and being jaded and being pessimistic. But if I receive this summons to walk, if I receive the newness of life, if I get up off the ground, I'm going to have to choose to dance. I'm going to have to choose joy. I'm going to have to choose to believe. I'm going to have to choose to believe the goodness of God. And then, I'm going to have to be sent back into the House of Mercy to show kindness to the others who are just like me.

And so that, all that and more is in the loaded hard question, do I actually want to be made well? Do I actually want to try again? Do I want this relationship to work? What it is going to cost me? A lot of us talk of things we hope for, but we're not actually making a move to see them happen because we know what the price is we're going to have to pay on the way there. Getting off the ground, it involves rejecting false assumptions, asking hard questions, and then, thirdly, it means listening to the right voices. Listening to the right voices. I find it intriguing that almost seconds after being healed, this man now has to reckon with voices telling him he shouldn't be doing what he's doing. The moment he obeys Jesus, and by the way, Jesus instructed the man to do the thing the other voices had the problem with. Jesus didn't just say rise and walk.

John Young, go solute the flag. He said, take up your bed, and it was the Sabbath, which according to not the scripture, but the rabbinical interpretation of the scripture, this was a religious violation. Instant demerit. God gave this idea, this principle, he set it into motion when he created the world. Take the seventh day out of every six that you work and enjoy a day to rest and to worship and to enjoy relationships. And if you're married, there was actually this teaching that you're supposed to have sex. And it's just supposed to be this amazing day of delight and day of cinnamon rolls and day of sweatpants in Jesus's name, which is a wonderful thing after six days of hard work. By the way, a terrible thing for your soul if it's just how you spend seven days. We are meant to, I mean, vacations are great. But to come and go from the rhythms of work and rest and labor and joy.

And the day of seven, the day and the time of sabbatical, that is all beautiful because of the work that you put in beforehand where it's this interesting time when in our culture. It seems like a lot of people see the carrot to move towards is not having to work at all. But that will be very putrid to your soul eventually. Having that Midas touch and touching every day and saying golf. Touching every day and saying sweat pants. Touching every day and saying carbs. Touching every day and saying Margarita by the pool. I'm telling you, that would be toxic to your soul. And eventually, like Midas who touch everything and it was gold, there was no fun in it. We are meant to work hard and enjoy the beauty of work. Because in creation, there was work before there was even sin.

So man was meant to work. We're meant to have a taxing day. We're meant to lay our head on our pillow and go, dang, I am tired. We're meant to sit by the fire reflecting on what came before us and go, I'm tired. I'm tired mentally. I'm tired emotionally. I'm tired physically. And dang if it doesn't feel good, which is, by the way, one of the reasons why if you work all day with your mind, it can be amazing to have a hobby that replenishes you that taxes your body. And if you work all day with your body, it can be beautifully stimulating to have the yin to that yang and to have a hobby that is challenging to your mind. So if all day long, like me, its words and its concepts and its ideas and its organization. To have something like tennis or fly fishing, which has been extremely revitalizing and rejuvenating to me because it's just so different. Whereas, if you give me a Sudoku puzzle, I am liable to cry. I mean, I'm telling you, it just feels so much like writing a sermon to me and organizing words and writing a paragraph in a book. I can't handle it, right? Wordly, no thank you. Words with friends? That's what I do for a living, right?

Just give me something mindless. Give me something repetitive. Give me something boring. Give me something that I can completely check out and leave, I was like, over here for a while. I'm just hitting this ball really quick and that's just what gives me joy. But if you work all day with your body, it can be amazing to have a way to cut loose in a different way. But that's the beauty of Sabbath. And that was God's intention. It would be this amazing gift. And actually, it's believed that God did work on the seventh day. That he on the seventh day created rest. Take that, Genesis. I mean, it's just challenging. So the rabbis did get this right. They taught that only God can violate the Sabbath. Because as Jesus said, my Father has been working now and so have I. And here's what's beautiful about that. Since God has never taken a sick day or taking a day off, you can. And it's amazing how well the world keeps spinning when you're chilling, right? It's challenging, but it's beautiful.

I can't turn my phone off. I have to be reachable at all times. But then you're keeping the world spinning. And if you can never come to a place where you're not reachable by man, how can you ever think that you'll be reachable by God? If there's not a day when you take up just to sync up, just to chill out, or that Saturday for you that Sunday for you. Well, for me, it's, obviously, I'm working at this moment, right? So my weekends are Friday, Saturday. How I break it down is Friday I do all the work that I don't get paid for. No one's going to pay me to do taxes. No one's going to pay me to take down the Christmas decorations, which will probably come down around May 5th or something like that. No one's going to pay me to do that. So that's all the work that I do that I, straightening up the garage. That is work. That is not a day off, OK? That's amazing. So I do all that. I try and do all that on Friday so that Saturday that can actually be Sabbath. There can actually be rest.

I would encourage you to push the work that you got to do that you don't get paid for it to one day. And then, have a day where you actually get to reconnect with God, with yourself, and with the people that you love in life. And if it's replenishing for you to be around people, do that. If it's replenishing for you to be a monk, do that. And so take that day. But they had taken what God created to be beautiful and turned it into this super tax code, bracketed, all these rules. And him picking up his bed obeying Jesus broke the Sabbath. And Jesus wanted it to be that way. In fact, if you go through, if you run through the Gospels and you find out every time Jesus did a miracle on Sabbath, you will find he did so seven times. Just because he could. He's just showing off. I got to do one more. Just got to get to seven. He's just amazing. What he was saying was, they said only God can work on the Sabbath.

So Jesus healed seven times on the Sabbath. He was saying, guess who I am? I am that I am. They said, this man was violating. And they said, you should put this down. You shouldn't be healed. They would rather have him be crippled than breaking their religious law. They should be the first to be congratulating this man. And there will always be voices in your life that would rather have you stay on the ground. Why? Because misery loves company. Everybody has someone in their mind more dysfunctional than them. And that's the reason, whenever you try and better yourself in any way, they'll say, you've changed. And I would respond to that, I hope so. That's the plan. And if they bicker when you start to take steps to get healthy, that means you were there holdout. You were that person in their mind who said, well, they're worse than me. So when you start to change, when you start to be improved, they're feeling like, I don't have anybody in my life I can point to. And so that's why they're desperately flailing out at keeping you back down on the bottom shelf where they are at.

So this man has to choose, which voice am I going to listen to? The voices of these who are trying to hold me back or the one who's calling me up. The one that's calling me off the ground. Proverbs chapter 13 verse 20 says, become wise by walking with the wise. Hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces. Psalm 1 says that how you get to a life that's full of God's blessing on your life, like being a tree planted by a river, is to carefully consider who you walk with and to not sit in the company of fools. Perhaps, and this is a hard question to ask, there are some people in your life and you will not be able to get off the ground until you choose to extricate yourself from doing life with them. I know you're saying, but how can I reach them? You're not able to reach them right now. You're not able to be an impact to them because you are under the sway of that peer pressure. There may come a day, and pray for it, that you're strong enough and whole enough to be an impact to them. But you're not impacting them doing exactly what they're doing. Being just as broken, dysfunctional, and falling into the simple traps that they are. So you have to, if you're going to get off the ground, it means you listen to the right voices.

And then, fourthly, it means doing scary things. Doing scary things. What does it mean to do scary things? Well, I picture this man and I'm just putting myself in his shoes for a second. I'm thinking, I have laid here on the ground for 38 years. It's a long time. And now I'm being told to not move towards the water. Because he thought Jesus was going to help him get into the pool. But news flash, Jesus didn't come to participate in your agenda or your kingdom. He invites you into his, which will almost never look like what yours does or mine does. And the scary thing would be that, is it going to work? But what you need to know about Jesus is that his calling is always his enabling. So if he calls you to do it, he will be faithful to do it. First Thessalonians 52:24. He who calls you to do it is faithful. That's me just pretending there's a verse right there on the screen.

First Thessalonians 5:24. He who calls you is faithful. What that means is Jesus will always give you the strength to do whatever he calls you to do. So if he's calling you to stand, if he's calling you to sing, if he's calling you to build, if he's calling you to break up, if he's calling you to step out, if he's calling you to put yourself out there, it will always feel like, there's no way this is going to work. But if you step out in faith at his word, he will prove himself faithful. And even with shake your head. Every significant thing I've ever done for God, I did so with shaky hands. But then, his, when you're willing, his power kicks in.

When you're willing to walk to the master of the feast with a ladle full of water, you can believe he will turn it to wine. When? As you obey. As you draw some out. As you carry it to him. On the way, you will be marvelously led. But starting is the hardest part. When the Saturn V rocket that took all the Apollo capsules to their missions, when it takes off, it weighs 6 and 1/2 million pounds. And it uses 5 million pounds of fuel in the first 150 seconds. By that point, it's 38 miles in the sky. So it uses, like do the math. 3/4 of its fuel to get 38 out of 240,000 miles. What does that mean? Starting is the hardest part. The first step is the hardest part. Today's the day for that first step. Today's the day to take that step. Today's the day to rise up and walk. Today's the day to pick up your mat.

There's a whole lot of steps that had to follow. But 5 million pounds of fuel just getting off the, Fifthly, making different choices. Jesus found the man later and what did he say? Don't return to your old life. Don't return to your life. Or a sin no more lest a worst thing come upon you. This is where we get to make the challenging but true statement that not all suffering is the result of our decisions. That's a very important distinction to make. And we will plumb the depths of that more next week. I hope you'll come back for week four and week five. Actually, it's going to come up quite a few times in the next couple of weeks, OK? But because there's such a hard thing of like, where is God's role and human role when hard things happen, bad things happen? Not all human suffering is a result of bad decisions. But can we acknowledge this truth as well?

Some of it is. Some of my suffering is a result of my sinful choices. And it would seem that some amount of this man's sinful choices had led him to the situation he was laying in. I don't need to daydream to know that there are people in hard places on the ground in places and it was their own bad decisions that put them there. And Jesus who called this man off the ground is saying, if you go back to the old ways, what do you expect is going to happen but the same thing? I've given you a new lease on life. Don't be like the proverbial dog that eats its vomit. Don't go back to those old things. It will just take you back to those old places. The point is that what you do with your liberty can put you back into captivity. And whom the sun sets free, God wants to stay free. Indeed.

So getting off the ground. There's a lot involved, but it all comes from the mouth of Jesus who so badly wants you and me to get off the ground. To shoot for the stars. To dream God dreams. To not be stuck. That he was willing, John 12, to be lifted up from the ground. That's the message. That's the ultimate application. What do you mean off the ground? He wants you to get off the ground. I mean, it's just a few verses later in John 5. If you just flip the page, Jesus speaking, most assuredly I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in him who sent me has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming and now is when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God. And those who here will live.

Verse 28, the hour is coming when all who are in the grave, in the ground will hear his voice and come forth rising. Those who have done good to the resurrection of life. Those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation. And this whole illustration, John called them signs, was meant to teach a heavenly reality. And this one came to land when Jesus spoke to the leaders, the Jewish people and said, and this is so scary, verse 40, you are not willing to come to me that you would have life. Jesus wants your life and your eternity to be lived off the ground. Out of the ground. But you must turn your back on the bubbling pool of water, whatever you think you're happiness is bound up and your eternity is bound up in. And listen to the one who speaks who is willing to be, the Hebrew word is NASA. Lifted up. Raised up on the cross. He did that for you. He was raised up from the Earth to call you out of the Earth forever, but also right now.

And so, Father, we thank you. We thank you for this powerful demonstration of this man getting a new lease on life. Getting to walk, getting to sing, getting to be free, and getting to testify of the one who told him, rise up. We acknowledge today that your Spirit is using your word to accomplish various things in our hearts.


But can I just ask the privacy of this moment if you would say, Levi, I know what my mat is. I know what my ground is. I know what I'm stuck in. And I hear the spirit calling me off the ground. If that's you I'm describing, you would say, I know exactly what this is for me and I just want to acknowledge it in the presence of the Lord. Could I just ask you would raise a hand up. Raise your hand up. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. We hear you father. Do you want to be made well? May you hear in our hearts a resounding yes. Counting the cost. Bless these. Give them strength. Enable them to do what you're calling them to do. Bless them.

You can put your hands down. I want to invite now anybody who's listening to this message and you've never said yes to Jesus, open your heart up to him. Allow him the chance to come into your soul, to change you, to make you new, to give you forgiveness because of the cross and the resurrection that he has the power. He's paid the payment for you to be set free, but you must receive it. May it not be said of us that we would not allow you to do the work that you want to do in our hearts. This invitation goes out from a dying person to dying people. And in between now and the moment we breathe our last is all the space that we have to say yes to Jesus. He said, when he calls you out of the grave, it's all based on your relationship with him.

If you're here and you would say, "Levi, I sense the Holy Spirit touching my heart. Tugging at my heart. I need to be forgiven. I need to get right with God. I need to be set free. I want to come out of that ground. I want heaven. I want life. I want Jesus. I'm going to ask you to pray a prayer with me". And then, I'm going to ask you to raise up your hand. This is your moment to get right with God. You're not promised you'll ever have another moment like it. Say this with me. Pray that God will hear you out loud, after me, church pray it with us.

Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner. I need to be forgiven. Please come into my heart and make me new. I give my heart to you. In Jesus's name.

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