Levi Lusko - The Art of The Exit
We're going to be in Hebrews Chapter 11 as we have been. This is now the eighth Sunday. And we have two more planned in this series that we've called Pioneers. I want to preach to you a message that uniquely God gave to me last week while I was preaching. This doesn't always happen. In fact, I can only count a handful of occasions that it's almost like I don't know how to describe it other than if you had a Safari or Chrome browser open, and then another window opened up in a new tab, and something was playing in the tab that you're not in. I was preaching, and while I was preaching, God was downloading to me what I was supposed to preach this week. So I was I had to rush off to write down the things he was given to me.
So I wrote this message while I was preaching the last one, but it's called "The Art of the Exit". The, Art of the Exit. What is your skill level when it comes to leaving, your skill level when it comes to the art of the exit? I don't know about you, but I personally, I don't go anywhere without thinking about how I'm going to leave. I need a strategy into getting out of things, right? If it goes right for me, if I do not see the bride and groom get into the limo, that is a day going well. I'm there for the kick I'm there for the Mr and Mrs. I'm going to clap. I'm going to leave a nice gift on that table. I'm going to make sure and get a hug with you and tell you you're so fantastic. But I don't need to see you going to your honeymoon, that's enough. That's just between you and your spouse. You know what I'm saying?
I don't want to throw birdseed at you. I don't want to hold a sparkler. I don't need all that, right? I'm already thinking even like as I'm shifting into do you take so-and-so to be your so, I'm already thinking how quickly can I get into bed? I'm just, all I've got on my mind. I want to get in my bed. I want to go to sleep, right? And so I always have to hey do you want to ride together? I'm trying to size you up. How long are you going to linger? You know what I'm saying? Let's take separate cars I'm like, or if I can get an Uber or a bird scooter, true story. But he was like, can you go to this game? And I was like, I don't know. And he goes, trust me. I'm going to want to leave early. He could already tell where I was going. It's like, OK, I'll go with you to this game. And sure enough, even halfway through the game, I start to feel, I feel the sensation of leaving with a sea of humanity all trying to leave the stadium at the same time.
I could never go to a Taylor Swift concert hearing about they lock you in there. You can't go people were in diapers to these situations. I don't need to get down with Taylor that bad. I just, I need to go to bed. So I'm always thinking about how to get out of there. Now, I'm married to Mother Teresa. So that's a problem. Because there's not a baby she doesn't want to kiss there is not a hug she doesn't want to give. And even after she's hugged all the babies that there are to hug and kiss, all the people that are to kiss, she still has more love to give. And so I'm like, I will see you at home. You know what I'm saying? The art of the exit, pray for me. I'm in counseling. But following God, involves knowing how to make an exit. Because Ecclesiastes three says, "To everything there's a season, a time for every purpose under Heaven. Time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones a time to embrace," Jennie Lusko, "and a time to refrain from embracing".
Levi, let's go. That's why God brought us together, right? So what is the scripture telling us? What does God want us to know? Like The Beatles saying, there's times to say hello. There's times to say goodbye. We need to be skilled at starting things. But we also need to get more skilled at learning the time to stop things. And if we're listening to the Holy Spirit, there will be the things that God just calls us to walk away from, opportunities that are not for us or not for us any longer, situations that we are not meant to get or stay tangled up into.
There will be times where we need to figure out how to make our exit. Temptation, for example, great time to know how to find the exit. The Bible says that when temptation comes, we always have an exit, but there's always an option to get out. It's not true, the whole thing that people like to say the devil made me do it, right? The devil made me do it. I heard about one woman who was shopping, and she was just getting the bare necessities because her and her husband had agreed on a spending freeze. They were saving up for something. So they said only things we need, nothing we just want, right? We're going to table all that. So she gets home, and she she was panicking because just as she was walking, and she heard him pull in. She didn't have time to hide the shopping bag just yet. And so he comes in, she's caught red handed. She's he's like what's in the bag? Necessities. Open the bag up, right?
So it's a dress. He's like, honey, come on. You don't need all that I needed it. He says, you didn't need that. You got you got so many dresses. We agreed. He said, what happened? How do your resolve get broken down? She said, well, tried it on. The devil showed up. The devil showed up? Yeah, the devil showed up right then and there. He said, what did the devil say to you? He told me how good I looked in it. He goes, honey, you know you're supposed to say to the devil get the behind me. She said, I tried that. He told me it looked good from the back, too, right? So sometimes, temptation feels like we have no way to overcome it like we're just being drawn in like the tractor beam from Star Wars. We have no choice. We can't fight it. But the reality is, First Corinthians 10 says "No temptation has ever overtaken you except such as is common to man. But God is faithful". It's a good spot for an Amen.
God is faithful even in temptation who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able. But with the temptation will also make, look at it, the landscape. He'll help you see that there's an exit. When you are on the path to sin, there's always an exit. And you need to learn to navigate the exit, the art of the exit so that you can bear it. I love that. Because it's a great promise to hold into your heart when you get tempted. Now, the devil wants us to make us feel shame for being tempted. But you need to know that being tempted is not a sin. Only giving into it is and when you're tempted, there's always a chance to zig instead of zag before you give in to that temptation. And I think we kind of get that.
All right, I needed to learn to navigate and figure out the art of the exit, how to bail on sin before I get it, check, got that. But how about figuring out how to navigate the art of the exit from things that are good things, good things that if you fill your life up with them, you'll have no room for the best things. Oftentimes, we get confused because we just keep saying yes to stuff, and we forget that the devil if he can't make us bad, he'll settle for us being busy. And if you can't get you to sin, he'll settle for you being distracted. And so we have to have a resolve that I'm not just going to find the exit when the devil is trying to get me to do a bad thing, but I'm going to be willing to find the exit when the Holy Spirit of God is calling me away from something that's actually a good thing. Example would probably help.
How about Paul the Apostle Acts chapter 21? Basically, let me paraphrase. He had been doing ministry in Ephesus he ministered in Ephesus longer than any other place. They got this epistle called the Ephesians that's just full of love. You just see his heart just full of love for this church. He loved them he loved them, he loved them. And his ministry there went gangbusters. It went really well. And yet the Holy Spirit began to call him to leave where he was at and to go somewhere different. He was supposed to leave Ephesus. And a man prophetically told Paul if you go to Jerusalem from Ephesus, you're going to end up getting in prison. You're going to end up in chains. Even death could possibly happen. And so the church at Ephesus said, well obviously, God's not in all that. He doesn't want you to go and have it be bad, so don't go Paul, stay here.
Look, everyone here wants you to preach to them just you can stay here in Ephesus for the rest of your life. And I can imagine the struggle. I was thinking this morning, what would I do if God called me to walk away from Fresh Life Church? And you know what? I would do it. It'd be the hardest thing in the world if God said go somewhere else, do something else. It'd be the hardest thing in the world, but I feel like you wouldn't want me to be your pastor if I put this church above God's will for my life. And so I want what God wants for me more than any other thing. And so Paul's struggle was I love you with my whole heart, but God's Spirit says to go somewhere else. And so these guys got around him and notice in Acts 21 Verse 13, Luke writes, we this is a we section.
When I taught through the book of Acts, you remember that. It was in 2007. You all don't remember that, right? When the word we is found in the Book of Acts, it means Luke is with Paul at that point. So there are section when he's not there. So you have to circle we because it's oh man, Paul's got his doctor with him. Why did Paul need to travel with the doctor? He got beat up a lot. He was always getting hurt. So he's wasting time go to the ER, eventually, some rich dude was like, dude, let me just pay for you to have a doctor with you, and I'll just bandage you up, and then you can just keep going. It'd be more efficient that way, right? "We," Luke says, "and those from that place pleaded with him not to go to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, what do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I'm ready not only to be bound but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus".
Paul knew what you need to know that the good is the enemy of the best. And the best is God's will. And so even preaching at Ephesus, which you can't say it's not like he was doing a seance there. What are you doing in Ephess, Ouija board? No, he was preaching. That's a good thing. But the good is the enemy of the best, and the best is God's will. So we're constantly having to figure out how do we exit on good things so that we may lay hold of the best things. And there's nothing better than knowing you are walking in the will of the Lord at that moment doing what he called you to do can. I get an Amen? Amen. God can't bless you yes until you grow your no.
Do you start crowding your life in with so many things that you don't have the free bandwidth emotionally, mentally, spiritually, financially to give yourself over to what is God's unique will for your life and stop letting other people tell you how to follow your calling? Luke, even Luke had it wrong. Even the Ephesian elders had it wrong.
All right, Hebrews 11, let's now see this as an object lesson in the life of Moses. "By faith Moses, when he was born was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child. They were not afraid of the king's command. By faith, Moses, when he became of age refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, for he looked to the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king. For he endured a seeing him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith, they've passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians attempting to do so we're drowned".
Now, as we look at Moses's life in scripture, and this is a summarization of his life, just a few paragraphs, we see all kinds of exits. Moses is famous for many things. Manna comes to mind. Staffs that turn into snakes come to mind. Ten Commandments come to mind. But he's most famous for a departure. He's most famous for making an exit. In fact, the Book of the Bible that in summary form we are reading about here in large expanded form is called Exodus. And Exodus literally means out of a way into somewhere else or a departure, or it's I mean, look at an exit sign. Every location, you can see an exit sign if you're in one of our buildings, if they're up to code if they're not, please don't call anybody involved in all that, right?
Exit, that's the Book of Exodus, Genesis Exodus, right? They're leaving something, they're going out of something. And in this text, we see a number of different things that Moses by faith left, the art of the exit. It comes to a point in the most emblematic of Moses's entire life where he walks into the court of the king, a.k.a. his grandfather, literally, this is G Daddy for his entire upbringing, and now he's walking in there. And on behalf of the Hebrews who he now is identifying with, it was always true, but he has thrown off the assumed identity of being Egyptian and refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter or the grandson of Pharaoh. And by the way, it's believed this particular Pharaoh had no sons. And so he as the adopted grandson was likely, according to the Jewish historian Josephus, going to sit on that throne one day as king. And he strolls in one day and says four famous words, let my people go.
I cannot even say those words without singing Brandon Lake song in my heart, anybody? Pharoah, let my people go, let my people go, shame, let my people. I'm already on record. Brandon, you were doing that song right at the Movement Conference. You've got to do it. And he's going to. He agreed, he agreed, he agreed, he agreed. So he's I got him on the red carpet right there at the piano. It was like hey, you need it in writing right now. I need a binding blood oath right now, Let My People Go in Montana, that song ringing out over the Rockies. It's going to be unbelievable. It's happening, it's happening, it's happening. OK, and I think if I was a youth pastor still just a couple of years in, writing my sermons like each week, oh crap, I got to learn stuff just to teach it that week. You know what I mean? And that's honestly, the best way to learn anything is to need to teach it.
And so I would learn it along with the youth group. I think my temptation would have been probably to read this text to you and talk about, hey we're going to talk about exits today. And then immediately be rushing, be like, all right, so let's every one of us identify our Egypt. And we're going. Come on pack your bags. We're going, we're going, everybody everybody come on and pack your bags in your heart. We're going. Everybody say we're going. Come on, touch your neighbor and say get out of Egypt. Get out of Egypt. Get out of Egypt. Come on, go let's go. Who doesn't want God's best for us? We're going to milk and honey. And that preaches real good, but it's real problematic when it comes to living that out. Because some of y'all will be like, all right, I'm getting a divorce, then. Woah, woah, woah, and I've been doing this long enough to realize that you can't just preach something big on Sunday without realizing the ramifications of the Thursday.
And so what are we talking about here when we say like everybody out of Egypt? We're talking about leaving something that in one season was an answer to prayer. Because you might not have been here, but I was last week on this stage hollering about Jacob, who had all these boys. And they had wives, and they had kids. And there were 70 people dying in Israel during the drought. And God had a rescue for them. In fact, God in his providence had sent the rescue on ahead of them. Psalm says God sent Joseph ahead.
How did God send Joseph? That sounds so nice, doesn't it? God sent Joseph ahead to get things ready for the 70 to come to Egypt. He sent him ahead by his brothers brutally attacking him, selling him as a slave. You want to talk about sibling rivalry, right? Mom, you think it's bad in the back of your minivan? They sold him into slavery. I mean, we've all thought of it. They did it. And he did nothing but what was right in God's sight. And life got nothing but more complex for him. He ends up in a prison cell for being unwilling to have an extramarital affair with his boss's his wife who had the hots for him, right? You can't make this stuff up. His dad thought he got mauled by a wild animal. No, he was in Egypt alive and well getting attacked by a cougar is what was really going down. That's what was happening. God sent him ahead. That's what Psalms says. Looking back on this, God sent him ahead to get things ready.
You see, because God and his providence can redeem what in his sovereignty he could have prevented. Hold on to that in your heart when things are going crazy in your life. He's got a plan. He's sending you ahead. Man meant that for evil. It doesn't excuse any of that, but God is going to use it for good. So Egypt, Egypt's now like what? We're like, I'm going to quit my job. I'm going to get out of Egypt. Pastor Levi said I got to get out of Egypt, right? It's just code for anything we don't want to do anymore, right? It's just that cheap, low level hanging fruit that she's, yeah leave Egypt, right? Egypt was an answer to their prayers. We're dying of a drought... And God opens up a way for them to live in fact going all the way back to Abraham, Egypt was a prophesied part of God's people's future. It was going to be a safe harbor for them. Pharaoh got to witness God through the life of Joseph who had a different spirit in him.
Who knows how many people in the Egyptian court we're going to made in heaven because Joseph lived in and worked in Egypt. Should we be so quick we got to get out of this situation, this world is so icky and bad, we got to get out of there, right? What about Daniel called to work in Babylon? If he had his druthers would have gone to the land of milk and honey that he got kidnapped from as a little kid. But he's literally like second to no one in Babylon witnessing and testifying, getting thrown in lion's dens, being unwilling with his friends to bow before gold statues. We have to acknowledge the tension here or just we've got to get out of that. It's all nuaghty and bad and gross, and we just want to honor God.
What about Esther? Esther was called to work in a secular government and to be positioned there. Who knows if God didn't set all this up to get you in here for such a time as this praise God for those people who show up every day working at companies where you feel like you're the only bright light. You're going into hospitals. You're going into school rooms. You're going in as a student into a situation, it can't, whatever, you're going to be there now. I'm getting out of that, I'm getting out of that, I'm getting out of it. Be careful because you might be leaving something God's called you into. So let's just make sure we have some language around our Egypts. But yes, indeed, God can at times, God can and is willing at times to call us away from things that no longer serve a purpose.
Egypt was there for a season and a reason but not for a lifetime. And so God used it to train Moses in the art of war being groomed to be Pharaoh. He would have been given all sorts of military strategy. He would have gone to the West Point of his day. There's so much that can be said and has been said. And I've talked about that he endured getting trained. He didn't know he was in training to lead God's people, but God was doing it. And he was making the devil pay for it, right? Literally, Pharaoh's paying for him to get educated, and God was going to overturn that and use it to accomplish God's purposes, right? So at times, something just because something was in your life for a season and for a reason doesn't mean it's meant to be there for a lifetime. If we're not careful, we can end up collecting things that were beneficial for a time. But that 400 years might be over, and now, it might be time to move into a brighter tomorrow.
I got a pretty vivid example of this. When my wife sent me to get some lunch for us. We were in Nashville. We were at this big old hotel. And they had all these different restaurants, Right? It was so stressful. It was exceedingly stressful, and go to get some food, so I go to this restaurant, and it's the kind where you order, and they give you a little stick with the number on it. And I said but I want my food to go. OK, just take the stick, go sit down somewhere. We'll find you, give you the food. And then we'll take the number from you. Or that's how it's supposed to go. But when I got to the room and said, Jennie, I got food. Aren't you proud of me? She said, what are you holding in your hand? I had carried that number all the way through this massive hotel.
It probably took me 15 minutes to find my room. I got lost three times. And I had no idea I was still holding on to it. I had to fumble with it, sat on top of to go boxes to get my key card out, the thing we all do, right? And then I walk in the room, she's like why are you still holding on to that? I was like, well, I'm on what? Well, I'm a moron. I wish I could get the security footage from the hotel of me just walking through, just marching, just marching it, eat on parade here, right? That stick served the purpose for a season. Why did I have it? So God could bring something to feed me with it. But it's not going to work anymore. I can't just walk through life with that and people just be bringing me burritos. You know what I'm saying?
It was attached to one particular. But the problem is sometimes, we end up hanging on to stuff that was only in our life to be fed for a moment. But we think we just got to keep it forever because it was working at one point. We got to learn the art of the exit. We got to learn to put stuff down that's no longer serving us. It was serving you for a moment, but that doesn't mean you're going to keep on doing it forever. Sometimes, stuff dries up. And sometimes God's leading us through things drying up. Elijah was told go hang out at this brook. What am I going to do there? I'll take care of you at the brook. So he goes to the brook, and he's drinking the water.
That's kind of nice, but I'm pretty hungry pretty soon. This doordash raven shows up bringing him Taco Bell. He's like, that was unexpected. And God fed him day and fed him night for a long time through this crazy season with birds bringing him food, and he would drink from a water. Guy could get used to something like that. And then one day, the ravens stopped coming. He's sitting there waiting for his sunny delight in his snack pack, and it doesn't show up. And then the water stops. And if he had just stayed there, it was feeding him for a season but not for a lifetime. Through the drying up of the river, God was calling him to Zarephath where he was going to feed him through even weirder than the raven, believe it or not. A widow, a widow who's starving to death who's about to feed her son her last little bit of food so she could die with him in the country of their greatest enemy, the Israelites, their greatest enemy ran Zarephath. You see God dried up one thing that didn't make sense to call him to something else.
And so we got to be willing as God calls us to say to your neighbor, sit down down your sugar skull. Come on, the weirdest thing I've ever... say it. Say it. Say it. Say, set down your sugar skull. Just because it fed you once doesn't mean it's going to feed you forever. I wonder if, for some of you, the things that you went to to survive one season, even unhealthy things, if perhaps that's not how you got enslaved and addicted to the substance you're addicted to. You didn't go to drugs because you wanted to be a lifetime drug addict. You went to it because you needed something as a coping device because life was just too traumatic and too hard. You needed an escape hatch.
And so like the children of Israel having to leave the Promised Land to go to Egypt, you went to thinking it was just going to dull you enough to where you could just survive, not thinking you would end up stuck there forever. But there are rows of Pharaoh who knew not Joseph and was not kind to the Israelites, did not remember the good things Joseph had done for the country. And so now they began to be enslaved with hard rigor and work, and they were having to build the pyramids and build all of these cities of Pharaoh. And maybe today you're at a place where you still got something in your life. You only went to it for survival, but God's saying to you, come out of Egypt. Come out of what you are enslaved to. And I have something better for you. I have something better than just being numb. I have life and life everlasting. God's calling you out of what you look to feed you.
Why would you buy food that's not real bread? Why would you drink what is not going to ever satisfy you, Scripture says? If you're thirsty, come to Me and drink. So we got to we got to analyze what we brought into our lives that we think we need and be willing to set some of these things aside, "the art of the exit". But what about when God's calling us to walk away from something that's working? That's maybe more confusing than anything. Do you have the faith to be willing to walk away from a miracle in motion? That's what Philip was called to do. Philip was like this JV apostle guy, right? You have heard of... I've heard of Peter. I've heard of James. I've heard of John. But Philip? Right? So Philip kind of got to do the ministry assignments no one else wanted.
I remember when I was an intern on the pastoral staff and they would just send me on assignments nobody, I was just so excited, I didn't care. So Philip was the same way. He just had that scrappy spirit. So they said, who wants to go to Samaria? Jews did not like Samaritans. Back story, read John 4 if you don't understand all that. And so he's like, I'll do it. So he goes to Samaria, starts preaching. Dude, it goes gangbusters. I mean, it's like full-fledged pandemonium revival. There's acorns and magical unicorns and rainbows. It's all exciting. It's wonderful. And so people are getting saved. The Bible actually says there was great joy in the city, Acts Chapter 8. You should read it sometime. The Bible, amazing. So good the maps will change your life, I'm telling you.
So Philip's there. He's preaching. People are getting saved. Peter and John find out about it. Now they have time to go to Samaria. They were all important doing big apostolic stuff, but now they want in on it. So we got to go to Samaria and check it out, make sure it's OK. We're up to code, right? And so they do. And then the sorcerer shows up. It's like an Avengers movie. It's very strange, right? And then the sorcerer gets dealt with, but they cannot help but say, this is amazing. They give their apostolic Peter and John like seal of approval, way to go Philip. Amazing. And they go to Heb... But right before they go to leave, the Holy Spirit nudges Philip and says, you need to leave. Dude, he's getting to do ministry now with his heroes. It's working. It's miraculous. And right, then look at the text.
It's Acts 8:26. An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Garza. And then Luke adds, in case you're thinking, well, maybe that's a good thing. Maybe he's going somewhere better than Samaria. It says, look at these three words, this is "desert." God? You see what I'm saying? You see the tension here. It doesn't say the devil with his pitchforks said, go to the desert. It was the Holy Spirit speaking through an angel, calling him to walk away from what was working, calling him to be willing to go to a desert place that didn't compute and make sense in his mind. And you know what's even crazier? Acts 8:27 says, so he arose and he went. And oftentimes, it's when we comply with what does not make sense in our minds that we get to participate in some of the most dramatic miracles we wouldn't even have the faith to believe for.
I think about when I was living in California. Jennie, we were there. It was like if we had to put on paper our life that we want, doing ministry, preaching to thousands, getting more opportunities, living in a big area, lots of people. And that's when God put the little sliver of a soul so deep inside of us we couldn't get it, you know, we try and get a sliver out, a little splinter out? Just couldn't get it out, this dream of moving to Montana and starting a church and seeing what God would do, and the willingness to walk away from what was working and to go here. And then again it happened when we started up a little ministry, even before Fresh Life, called O2 Experience. It was an event geared at reaching young people with the message of God's plans for sex and romance. This just in, God has a better plan for your sex life than the devil does.
And we've had a calling on our life to tell young people about that ever since we got married. We felt the call to that ministry on our honeymoon. And we began to do it, and it worked. And then we started Fresh Life and we still felt that drive, and it worked. That was the message we put into the book, the swipe right and the life and death power of sex and romance, which is now gone around the world and been translated in a bunch of languages. But that really took off as we were putting it out there for God to bless. There was one event we had like 6,000 teenagers show up at. And we saw hundreds and hundreds make commitments for Christ and embrace God's plan for their love life. We'll be out somewhere and someone will walk up and show us an O2 Experience card with their signed name, saying, hey, God rocked my world. We're now married with kids. And this is our fruit of this ministry.
And then one day, I can't explain it, the peace was gone for us to do it. There was this is desert. Some of you might have been around. Like, why did we stop doing those events? Because God told me to stop doing them by stop putting the fire towards it. Around that same time we started to feel a real call to do an evangelistic event and to do this event. It's called Skull Church. It was an outreach. We bring in bands. And we just were really trying to be focused at preaching the cross of Jesus Christ, which took place at a place called Skull Hill. And we did that for a while, and there was incredible seasons. And we even took it on tour. And literally, again, one day, this is the stuff you can't make up.
Have you ever heard of a surf company called Hurley? Bob Hurley, who founded that company, says to me, I heard about Skull Church. Do you guys ever sell shirts at it? Yeah, we sell shirts at it. Could Hurley make them for you? And I was like, OK, I guess. You guys could make our... so all the Skull Church blanks all said Hurley on the tag because Hurley made them. It was just walking in the flow of God's favor in Samaria because we just said, let's see what God would do. And right at the high point of it, we literally could have just raised funding and just done nothing but Skull Church and that's all we would do, or continue to do it as a ministry. The peace went out for it and I felt like we were not supposed to keep doing those things.
And for literally several years, I would always, in the back of my mind, be going God, why did you cause us to walk away from the things that are working? We had the trademark for Skull Church. No one else can use it. We own that. We own the URL. Why would you take the fire out of that? And then two years ago, God showed me that Skull Church and O2 Experience were both scaffolding, scaffolding to build the foundation. Instead of us tour-busing around the country, getting exhausted, preaching all around the world, that God was going to bring the youth of our nation here, that through Movement Conference, we were both going to preach the gospel and see young people saved, but we were also going to get to explain God's call for his relationship strategy, and we wouldn't have to crisscross the country, but that, efficiently, God was going to bring youth from around the country and around the world here for our church to get to serve them and God to reach them and then to be deployed back to their own cities with the gospel.
And so I wake up and go, one day, I feel like we are really, I always said, we would never start a conference. We would never do a conference. Never say never, guys. And I saw a picture, and the picture of my mind was the mountain range, the Jewel Basin, and a generation of young people, praising God, and the blessing and the songs and the salvation rising up. And literally, it felt like Field of Dreams. "They won't know why they're driving down the road. They're going to be turning down. They're going to be coming, clamoring for something they don't even know they need in their heart". And then we saw, last year, 20 states represented a Movement Conference. And that's just year one. What is God going to continue to do? A month ago, we passed where we ended that movement last year, and we believe this is still just the beginning.
So I'm just saying, you've got to follow God's lead. Sometimes He calls you to walk away from things because you're enslaved to them. Other times He causes you to walk away from things because they were just scaffolding, getting you ready for what's coming. Scaffolding doesn't go up to stay up forever. Scaffolding goes up so you can build the actual thing. But some of us are walking around with our sugar skulls and our scaffolding and our lives, our storage units, are so full of things we are called to let go of that we don't need in our lives anymore. We are so bloated with commitments and purchases, and we just say yes to every opportunity, not realizing we are then not free to do the thing God actually has called us to do. So God's saying to us today, are we willing to thrive in Babylon when He's called us to, but also to depart from Egypt where He says it's time to? So what does that look like?
Well, I want you to see in this text four different things Moses and his family departed from. And maybe some of these will give you some inspiration as you consider what you're called to turn from. Moses and his family, in Hebrews 11, says "departed from convenience". Convenience is the first of four. What do you mean Convenience? Well, you know what? If I'm Jochebed and Amram, and I'm told, if you have a baby and keep it you get killed, I'm thinking to myself, it's not that convenient to hang on to Moses. And I guarantee you there were families that said, hey, look, I'm sorry, and threw their baby boys into the river. They kept an inconvenient baby.
I was watching a documentary on Tony Hawk. Any skateboarders in the church? Anybody like skateboarding? Tony Hawk's most prolific... talk about pioneers? The pioneer, I would say, of skateboarding. His mom was 43 when she got pregnant with him. All of his brothers and sisters were grown, one in college, one a senior. It was like empty nest was on the horizon and they're pregnant. Surprise! 43, having a baby. And she said on record, it was in the documentary. I'm just watching this on the Macs App. It's Macs now, right? And they say Tony's mom told him to his face, if I could have got an abortion, I would have gotten an abortion. The only reason I kept you is because I had no choice. People would bump into her at the grocery store. Three older kids and then a baby carrier. And they would say, uhh. And then she would go, this is what his sister said, oh, that's my little mistake. Tony's my little mistake.
That can give somebody a complex, kind of like being born into a family where the safest thing your parents can do is to put you in a crocodile-infested river, where you get raised thinking your grandfather is the man who actually wanted to kill you, but your nanny is actually your mom. It sounds like a very expensive therapy bill to me. Moses. Moses. What does that mean? Moses means "drawn out". How did Moses have such a sense of strength? Because his name came from what he was rescued from, not what he was put into. Come on, we've got to stop having our identity come from all the hard things we were put into and start taking our identity from what we were called out from. And did you know, the word "church" means ecclesia, or "called out one". We've been called out of the world.
Let's not take our identity any longer, one second longer, from what we were put into, but what we were called out of. Jochebed and Amram, the only reason this all take place is because they did something inconvenient. One more pioneer, just because it's fun? Shaun White, pioneer when it comes to snowboarding. Business Insider called him top 100 most marketable athletes who have ever lived. He has won more Olympic titles than any snowboarder in history, more X games, medals than any snowboarder who's ever lived. But did you know, he was born with a very serious heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallout, which required multiple surgeries as an infant because his heart valves were leaking out. And when he first tried to start doing sports would pass out physically go unconscious because of the overexertion.
So had you been able to figure all that out in the womb, and it might have been a situation like Tim Tebow's mom, who was told, if you don't abort this baby, you'll never live and this baby will never survive. You look at Shaun White. Here he is, overexerted, passing out. What are you looking at? You know what you're looking at? The most decorated Olympian in the entire category of his sport, a pioneer. What's the point? The point is why did Jochebed and Amram do the inconvenient thing and keep this baby? Well, the text tells us. We don't have to wonder. They did it because they saw he was a beautiful child. Yeah, but every parent thinks their kid's beautiful, even the ugly babies. Right?
Can we just have an honest moment in church? I don't want to dash the young parents' hopes and expectations. Your baby is not cute for weeks, OK? Just not cute for weeks, all right? That's just the truth. Mine weren't. Yours aren't. Show pictures of newborns. We are sick of lying to you, right? Oh, look at this. Oh, oh. Yes. Yes. Wonderful baby. They take time. They take time. The word "beautiful" does not mean pretty. It means fair in the eyes of God, fair in the eyes of God. Jochebed and Amram looked at this child. Didn't see what was there. They saw what God saw was there. And in the image of God, every single baby is destined for impact, convenient or inconvenient, in Jesus' name. What would a world be like without a Tony Hawk or a Shaun White or a Tim Tebow?
All right, number two, comfort. We've got to be called out of comfort at times for God's will. I'm going to say to you that if I had a desert to live in for 40 years or a palace to live in for the rest of my life, where I would get to be king over the mightiest empire on the nation of the earth, anybody want to guess which would be more comfortable? So many of our decisions are based on comfort, though, and preference. Moses found the exit on comfort, and he chose to suffer reproach with the people of God over than enjoying the passing pleasure of sin.
Now on paper, it was a crazy decision. Dude, look what you get to live with. And if you just look at this life, yeah, for sure it doesn't make sense. But Moses was factoring in forever. And when you factor in forever what is a brief amount of pleasure that comes from sin compared to an eternity of what God has for us doesn't the Bible tell us in Philippians three seven Paul speaking what gain what things used to be gained to me these things I have counted for loss what he's doing he's factoring in forever. He used to have the prestige of being the dopest Pharisee in the whole, everyone walked around like, oh, Paul, Paul, Paul. Oh, Saul, Saul, Saul. No, he said, that's garbage to me, because I'd rather be willing to leave and go to Jerusalem and die because I'm factoring in forever.
I'm thinking about that moment when I stand before God and He says, well done, good and faithful servant. You ran your race. You fought your fight. You did things that, in the moment, pulled you away from comfort, but it was what I had for you. David said, man, I'd rather be in your courts for a day than a thousand elsewhere. I'd rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, which isn't going to be comfortable, than dwell in the tents of wickedness. That's Psalm 84:10. Paul again, Romans 8:18, "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us".
So if your highest value is comfort, it will always keep you back from your calling, for God knows what you need to know. Comfort zones don't keep your life safe, actually. They keep your life small. And God has a big story involving His glory and there's a part for you to play in it. Plus, I mean, think about it. Had Moses kept all the riches and that was his biggest thing, he knew he couldn't keep those things forever. The Egyptians did try that. They buried their kings with all kind of loot. A thousand years past, or whatever, and the British archaeologist busted in and Tutankhamen hadn't been playing with any of his toys. We don't get to keep what we accumulate. But what we put into God's hands, honey, that's ours forever. We get to keep that for all of eternity.
Luke 12:15, Jesus said, "take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses". In God's eyes, the bottom line isn't your bottom line. It's being rich in His eyes, not just rich on earth, which is temporary at best. So we're always at a crossroads of, is the goal of my life to enjoy things or to be deployed for God's plans? And the thing that I've realized is if you live your life to be deployed in God's plans, you enjoy your life more than anybody, more than anybody.
So we're going to be willing to walk away from comfort. And then thirdly, we're going to be willing to exert control, control, for if you're going to follow God's plans for your life, you're going to be put into situations where you feel so out of control. Like what? I don't know, like being told to walk through a Red Sea with an enormous army coming behind you, trying to kill you, and your only strategy is going to involve a stick. Welcome to ministry. This is what I'm up against?
This is serving God at my school, serving God at my nonprofit, serving God here in the walls of our church. Like hey. We're going to be out of control, but that's a good thing, because it puts you in a place where you can be under his control. We walk by faith and not by sight. And I think it's so important to remember that whatever victory came before, it was meant to feed your faith in your next one, that you don't always have to, I don't know. I don't know. It's like, dude, God was faithful there. He's going to be faithful here. Right? We could speak, I've seen enough. I'm not going to get quaky and shaky with every new hiccup. I've seen enough. I've seen God work. He was faithful there, he's going to be faithful here. If He got me out, He's going to bring me through. He didn't bring me out of Egypt to kill me in the Red Sea.
So we're going to let go of control. And then fourthly, we're going to exit credit, needing to receive credit for every little thing, needing people to see what we did and know our contribution, needing that finder's fee for that introduction you made in good faith, but now, oh wait, they went on to do this, this, this, this, and I didn't get remunerated for what I did. You see what I'm saying? To live that way, you're going to be miserable. No one's going to want to be around you. It's like being a black hole. There's been times when I've introduced to two and they went on to become better friends with each other than they ever were with me. You ever go through that? You're like, wait a minute.
Hold on a second here. But do you want to go to, I introduced you. You should call me more. Right? What's that old quote? Imagine how big your world would get if you would just become smaller in it. How do you think Jochebed and Amram felt when they appeared over the author of Hebrew's shoulders and they saw the first draft of Hebrews 11. And it said "by faith Moses was hidden for three months". Excuse me? It's like when us husbands say, oh, yeah, we are expecting a baby. Who? Oh, yeah, we had that baby. We had that baby? I remember you were there accomplishing very little. We had that baby. By faith Moses was hidden? Amram's like, well hello? Well hello? We don't have to have that kind of toxic constant need to be validated. If we've been drawn out, God, You do what You want. You call me where You want. You give credit to whoever You want. Because I know at the end of the day, whatever I've done with pure motives in Your sight, I'm getting rewarded for, and no one's taking that from me. Jesus put it this way. Take it to the bank.
"Your Father, who sees", Matthew 6:4, "in secret will Himself reward you openly". And there is no end to what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit. We were in Great Falls for the pop-up a couple of weeks ago. And I went for a run the next morning and I was running along the Missouri River. And I came to this spot where there was like this tiny, little thing bubbling up and then water coming out of it. And I went and read the sign and the sign said that it was the shortest river in America, as certified by Guinness Book of World Records. The Roe River bubbles out of the ground right there, runs for 201 feet, and then ends. It's like, I'm a river. Just kidding, I'm done. It gets absorbed into the longest river in the United States of America, the mighty Missouri, which runs for over 2,400 miles.
And man, it's a good thing no one was around. It was like 5:00 in the morning. I'm having like a Holy Ghost, I took a video for you. Check this out. This is for you. OK, so you may feel that you're a little river, but this little guy feeds the mighty Missouri. 200 feet, that's its job to do. But it feeds the longest river in the United States. So you do the little things with all your heart. It's not just what you accomplish. It's what you're a part of, it's not just what you accomplish, it's what you're a part of. I had only had one cup of coffee, but that's high octane revelation. It's not just what you accomplish, it's what you're a part of.
Come on, let's be a part of bigger things than just what we can do ourselves. Let's believe that we can give the assist and not just be the ones who score the game winning. God's sorting all that reward stuff out. Jochebed and Amram, their part to play was hiding him, and then speaking while they could as his "nanny and nanny's husband" for a season. All of God's words, everything they sowed, every prayer they prayed, it all came to pass when, at 40, he decided to throw off his Egyptian robes and suffer with the people of God. That's fruit to their account. They weren't there when he got to part the Red Sea. They weren't there when the manna fell. They weren't there for any of that. But they're getting credit in heaven for it. Because it's not just what you accomplish, it's what you're an accomplice to. That's how I say it better with four cups of coffee. It rhymes better.
All right, so credit, control, comfort, and convenience. These are no longer our values. Pharaoh, let my people go. Let my people go. Convenience. Let my people go. Let my people go. Comfort. Let my people go. Credit. Let my people go. God is our Lord, not these other things. We're going to exit them. We're not going to hold on to them any longer. So three pieces of advice to you to send you out into the world with.
Number one, this is our exit strategy. You like it? The art of the exit. Don't leave for the wrong reason. The wrong reason would be I'm not getting validated there. I'm not getting noticed. I'm not getting opportunity. It's hard here. I'm tired here. I feel unappreciated. That's not God leading you. That's God developing you. That's a grace. This is David, I've been anointed king but I'm not crowned king. In between, I'm going to be in some caves. He would not short circuit on that and take matters into his own hand. He was willing to persevere and persist and honor what God had put him into, and knowing in due season he would come through it. So we're not going to leave for the wrong reason.
Number two. Look at it on the screen. I forgot it and my iPad just died, so I don't even have any notes anymore. Don't resent your current season. Yeah, that's good. Don't resent your current season. What you're in God is using currently, even if it feels insignificant, to invite you into a grander story. I'm taking our lead team this summer through a book by a guy named Derek Sivers. He started a company called CD Baby back in the day, it was a huge deal, before iTunes to allow a band that doesn't have a record label to put CDs out into the world, to put their music out into the world. And he talks about, in an interview, how he got that, how did he get that company started. He said, well, it all started at a pig show. A pig show?
Yeah, I love music. I wanted to play music but couldn't get opportunities. So an agent called and said, will you go play at a pig show? Pays $75. He had to pay $58 for the bus ticket, but he did it. Made $17. He played his heart out. He got back. The agent said, you did real good. They were happy. Can I send you to the opening of this art museum? Absolutely. Pay is $75. Awesome. Bus ticket was $60. Crap. Going backwards. Lost that $2. Now he only got $15. But he did it with his whole heart. So another call came next week. Said, hey, would you be willing to play at a circus? He's like, that's not what I became a rock and roll star for, playing in the circus. But he said, absolutely. They said, this one's steady work. Three shows a week, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. $75 a show, but you're on set. He said, are you kidding me?
Now I'm a professional musician. I've got a steady gig. And he took it. And he did it with so much enthusiasm, so much heart. The circus blew up and it was a big deal how he would do this, and pretty soon he was making $300 per show. And he said that money allowed him for 10 years as he continued at the circus, wanted to be a rock star, he's playing at the circus like a clown, but to buy his first house. And while he was at the circus, he started this little side thing, because he said it's so hard for musicians to get their songs out there because Nashville's got this big kind of evil empire. So let's just democratize it, make it available for any garage band to get their music out there.
So he started this thing. He sold it for $22 million and donated all of it to charity. This guy's just unbelievable. He just had it in his heart to do something big and do something crazy, but to be faithful along the way at small stuff. I wonder if there are some of us today who feel like we're stuck at the pig show and we're tempted to resent our current season. But God's using it to open up new doors of opportunity, if you're faithful where you are. And then lastly, look at it on the screen here because I forgot it again. I wrote something real good. Oh, look at that. Don't cling to a previous season. Oh, that's helpful. That's important. How many people have been held back and hamstrung from entering some milk and honey territory because they're just moping about how good the onions and leeks were back in Egypt? Oh, man, it was so good back there. Yeah.
Remember the '70s. Remember this season. Remember when it used to be whatever. I remember this. I remember that. I remember, what are you doing? You're looking back. You can't run forward looking backwards. You'll need a chiropractor to deal with that issue that it's going to create in your neck and your spinal situation. Don't cling to the former things. God's doing a new thing.
I'll close with two more little illustrations, one involving Bryan Cranston, Walter White, all right? Some of you are acting real holy, like you have no idea what I'm talking about. That's fine. Just continue with me. The rest of the fans of the show, I got your attention. Bryan Cranston, his big breakout role was in Malcolm in the Middle. Before that, he'd been working in Hollywood forever. You know, nothing really big that you would ever remember him for, a little piece on Seinfeld. But then Malcolm in the Middle was his big introduction to the world, overnight success moment. Never mind he's been grinding forever in little ways, but now everyone knows him. This went on for six years. But then, for no real reason, seventh year, ratings fell. Popularity of the show declined.
So without any advanced notification to the cast or to the crew, whose livelihood is tied up in the show, the show's canceled. It's over. Ratings are bad. It's done. We're not making any more. So they write some kind of tie up a bow ending and it's just over. And he's like spinning, because now his identity is I'm in Malcolm in the Middle. But he said, looking back, I'm so grateful that that show got canceled, because had I still been in Malcolm in the Middle, had my life still been going like I thought it should go, I wouldn't have been free to say yes to the pilot for a little show Vince Gilligan was doing called Breaking Bad. And then he said to the interviewer on 60 Minutes, and I would not be sitting here in this seat. Someone else would be talking to you today.
So don't cling to your former season. Don't long for the onions of Egypt. If God called you out of it, it's for a purpose. Let's face the future. Come on, who's ready to leave Egypt? Oh, I'm ready to preach it now. Oh, come on. Let's pack our bags. Let's leave these former things and move forward, with all our hearts, into what God has for us. Come on, I don't want to turn it into salt like Lot's wife. I'm not looking back to Sodom. I'm going ahead. I'm moving forward. I got my calling. I got my marching orders. I got my eyes on the prize. I'm ready to run with all my heart for the upward call. Jim Elliott, slain missionary, his wife and 10-month-old daughter would preach to the people who murdered him. He once said, he is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. So may we focus on and fight for what cannot be taken away.
Father, we thank you. We bless you. We bless your name. You are good, God. Thank you for calling us to begin things and end things, to gather stones and scatter them.
If you're, as I'm preaching, as I'm praying, just touched by this in some way and you want to respond to God, you want to say, "God, I'm listening to what you're saying", just raise up a hand. Raise up a hand, people. Raise up a hand.
Thank you, Jesus. I thank you for the tears and the struggle and the pain represented in these hands, the storms they've weathered, the battles that they wanted to quit on. May we be found faithful, God, above all things. Lead and guide your people, in Jesus' name.
You can put your hands down. I want to now invite those who have never made a decision to follow Christ to do so. You know, we're talking about Moses, but we cannot help but think about Jesus. Moses left the palace to go to a desert, but Jesus left heaven to come to a stable. And when He got here, He was crucified for our sins. Moses believed in Jesus. Moses said, there's coming a prophet greater than me. So Father, we look to Jesus now and ask Him to save. Bring through the Red Sea, that represents death, those who are perishing. Because without that red blood over their home, there is no salvation. There is no life. There is no safety for a person outside of Christ. But if you trust Him, you can have heaven. If you trust Him, you can have hope. If that's you I'm describing and you would say, Levi, I'm ready to give my life to Jesus today, pray with me right where you are. Church, say this with us:
Dear God, thank you for sending Jesus to die for me, to save me from myself. I need you. I believe today you are the way, the truth the life. Thank you in Jesus' name.