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Levi Lusko - Slipping Through The Cracks


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Well, this weekend is the fourth and the final of a series of messages we've been in where we've been learning to get big by thinking small. One of my favorite books is a book by Charles Duhigg, it's called The Power of Habit. It sat for a very long time on the top of The New York Times best sellers list. And in it, he talks about how little habits, he calls keystone habits, can be the key to unlocking enormous change in our lives. A couple of my favorite examples from the book are that he correlates the positive discipline of going to the gym, even as infrequently as one time a week, with a lower rate of credit card spending. So if you can find self-discipline and willpower in one area, it spreads to other areas. He also shows that there is a connection between sitting down as a family at the dinner table and eating dinner just a couple times a week with kids getting better grades in school and having higher self-confidence.

So we worry about, how do I help my kids, you know, in school. We think about, do I need to get a tutor. Like, maybe the answer is TV off, not at the restaurant, at the dinner table, just talking. Right? Like, that can't work, it's too simple. Maybe. Maybe the answer is in the small, little things that we easily overlook, right? And here's my personal favorite. He points in the book that a study was done that found that if you will make your bed in the morning (all the mothers in the house said), Yes. If you would just make your bed as soon as you get up, check this out, those who do so are found to be able to stick to a budget better than those who do not. And my wife's been telling me this for years to no avail. She says to me, she says, I feel like if I can have a victory before I even leave the bedroom, then I'm already on the right start. My day's rolling in the right direction.

And that really is the flavor and the theme of this series that we're in, Honey, I Shrunk the Church. And we are in the book of the Bible called Proverbs. If you have a Bible, Proverbs 30. If you have an app, you can get to God's Word there. If you have neither, we got your back. We're going to put the verses up on the screen for you. But Proverbs is a part of the Bible called the wisdom literature. And in it, we find wise sayings, wisdom for living. And we encouraged you at the beginning of the series, the first of four weeks, to make it your habit to read a proverb a day and you'll grow in wisdom as you do that. Well, here in Proverbs 30 in Verse 24 is the text that we've been focusing on. It was written by a guy named Agur. And he talks about little stuff that can make a big difference.

Let's jump in in Verse 24 where he says, "there are four things". Everyone say four things. Four things. "Which are little on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise: the ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer; the rock badgers are a feeble folk, yet they make their homes in the crags; the locusts have no king, yet they all advance in ranks". And here's our final little critter we're going to be looking at this weekend. "The spider skilfully grasps with its hands, and it is in kings' palaces". Now if you notice in your Bible, in mine there's a little footnote on the word spider. And the word spider has a little footnote that points down to the bottom where it says that this word can mean lizard. So in the Hebrew, we're not quite positive whether he was making reference to a lizard or to a spider.

So that's good news in case anybody among us has what they call arachnophobia. Anybody here would say I'm arachnophobia? Get me away from the nearest spider as quickly as possible. Well, then I would like you to have permission to feel free to every time you hear me say the word spider, just do a Godzilla Japanese overdub on me and lip sync in the word lizard. Just hear me saying lizard. It might just make you feel better. But you will see when we start to unpack what he's saying in this proverb that really, it doesn't quite matter which it is, because the application works just the same for lizard as for spider. Now I, myself, would not say I have arachnophobia. I am terrified of snakes, like, to a degree that would probably disturb you as a human that I could be that scared of snakes. But spiders, I wouldn't say like I'm a big spider fan. I'm a Spider-Man fan. I've been a Spider-Man fan forever. I'm excited he's showing up in the new Captain America film. What the heck is going on? I don't know. It was at the end of the trailer, he just popped in there. Iron Man called him in. It was crazy. I'm really excited about that.

But I will say that my first job, well, one of my first jobs was being Spider-Man. I don't want to brag in church, but I was Spider-Man for a while. I did Spider-Man appearances at little kids' birthday parties. I stumbled into it. It was an accident. It was fortuitous, though. My friend had a child obsessed with Spider-Man. He asked me, would you please, if I rent you a costume, show up and steal the cake and then bring it, you know, back. It was silly. I did it. I liked the adoration of the children. It was fantastic. And my God, the word of mouth advertising. All the moms, soon everyone had to top, oh, we heard you were Spider-Man. Can you be Spider-Man for my party? Well, now we want you to come climbing down this thing. And it's like, man, I'm not insured for that, but I'll try. And eventually, you know, it was fine until I did an older party and the children started attacking me. And it was decent money. And I hung up my spurs.

So do not call. I will not do it. But I like Spider-Man. I don't like spiders, though. I don't love them. I remember seeing the movie Arachnophobia. Anybody remember that movie back in the day? Jeff Daniels? Yeah, that was a terrible movie. It was horrible. I watched it, like, at the age of nine. I never should have been allowed to see it. You're like, man, your mother, no, it wasn't my mom. I was at a sleepover. I was at a sleepover. Most of the horrible things from my childhood came from sleepovers which is why I never plan to allow any of my kids to participate. That's my decision that I've made. Like, I remember I started wetting the bed right after I saw Silence of the Lambs at age seven at a sleepover, right? This isn't fava beans and a nice glass of Chianti. This is not good behavior in fourth grade. You're like, that's what's wrong with you. Yeah, it's a long list. How much time do you have? Spiders is the theme of the message today.

Remember, you're hearing lizards though, right? Yeah. I got your back. Lizards, spiders. What he says here about them is that they, let's look at it one more time. They skillfully grasp with their hands, and they are in kings' palaces. Here's what's weird about this verse. He breaks a long-standing tradition that he's been developing the whole time. Agur has gotten me used to his formula. I'm a little bit OCD. I like everything facing the same direction, I like things lined up, I like it that way. I crave that. And so when I get used to his rhythm, I make fun of an animal, but then I say, just kidding, it's awesome. I make fun of an animal, just kidding, it's the best. The ants have has no strength. Oh, but they do this really well. The locust, ha ha, they're leaderless. But they act, right? But the rock badger, what a weakling, I could beat him up. But wait, they got a good home. I guess I can't get to him because they plant their feet in, I've got used to it. Negative, but just kidding, it's actually a positive. And that's how your life can become, by the way.

You see an unguarded strength can become a double weakness. But if you guard a weakness, it can become a double strength. You've got to learn to look at things the right way, even liabilities can become assets if they're facing the right direction. And so he has gotten me used to this routine. And then he gets to the stinking last one on the list. And it drives me nuts because all of a sudden, my Sesame Street days are coming out. And it's like, one of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong here. This one. You are the weakest link, bye bye. Like, what's up with all the praise, right? Because look at it one more time. It's just, the spider skillfully grasped with its hands and it's in kings' palaces. What's up with the double compliment? Aren't you going to make fun of the animal before you bless it? Like, what's the deal here?

Hold on a second. This was not originally written in English, was it? It was written in Hebrew, which is why there's all the confusion of is it a lizard or is it a spider, right? So in the original Hebrew, one of the things that doesn't always translate over very well is puns. And that will tend to happen from time to time. People from other countries, or if you go to other nations, even if you can learn the direct words for different things, you might not get a play on words. You might not get a skillfully woven together sentence that involves puns and double entendres and that sort of a thing. And so in the original Hebrew, you have to understand that this would have almost been like one of those kind of things. What he would have been saying, and here's kind of the idea of it, is the spider is so little, you could grab it with your hands. But because of what it skillfully grasped with its hands, it ends up where it is.

So our OCD tendencies can settle down. He is making fun of it, kind of, before he goes on to say it's wicked awesome, which is why, by the way, this works for lizard and spider. Both of those are little, itty bitty things. You grab them with your hands. And yet what they do with their hands gets it to where they go. I'm calling this message Slipping Through the Cracks. That's what they do with their little hands. They crawl themselves. Spiders, all their eight little hands, nasty. And lizards. They both slip through cracks and get to places, how do they end up in the king's palace again? Well, because even though they're so small, they could be grabbed with your hands. What they do with their hands, slipping through some cracks, gets them in places where they don't belong. Gets them into some VIP situations, potentially. Gets them into places where it's like, you don't belong here. Yeah, but you're so little. Yeah, but that's a strength now because with my little size, I'm bringing what I have with me into this place where some might say, you don't even belong here.

That's right, it's scandalous. It's grace. It's too good to be true. God is using me beyond my wildest imaginations. Can you thank God in advance for the ways He wants to use you, that are going to say what, you? And you're like, yeah, I don't know. Little in size, I guess, but sort of exceedingly wise. Slipping through the cracks. We've now completed our list of four things we're learning. Because the ants, they taught us how to lean into our season. The rock badger taught us to be protected through being planted in the right spot. The locust taught us the power of voluntary submission. And what's our takeaway truth from the spider going to be? It's going to be this, that there is potential unleashed when you leverage your platform. Potential gets unleashed as you are willing to leverage your individual platform, your influence, where God can take you and what He is willing to do through you on the way.

Now let's back up here. We have an enormous responsibility as God's people. We have been charged with the evangelism of the entire world. No big deal. Jesus put it this way just before he floated away from Earth to Heaven like a hot air balloon. Mark Chapter 16, Verse 15. "He said to them," and to us by extension, "go into all the world. Preach the good news to everyone". So we can never, of anybody on this planet, we can never say what Cain did of his brother Abel. I'm not my brother's keeper. Jesus gave us the responsibility of being a keeper to our brother, to our sister. We have the responsibility of getting this good news He gave to us that we don't deserve. We didn't save ourselves by our good works. He saved us for His own purposes, by His own works, through His blood He shed for us.

So we do have the responsibility. We can't keep this a secret. We've got to go public with this, you see? We've got to shout it from the rooftops. We've got to reach to the whole world, He said get the good news to everyone you possibly can. Now that's a big job, agreed? How are we going to get big? By thinking small. We've got to shrink it down to what cracks we can slip through, what places we tend to stop and get frozen thinking of what we can't do. I can't do that. OK, let's back it up. What can you do? Because God never calls you to do what you can't. He always only ever calls you to do what you can. And so we gotta get our little spider brains on and look at this the right way. And here's our first takeaway truth. If we're going to think like spiders, live like spiders, we have to seize our available opportunity. All available opportunity. That's where you start. You never start with a sealed off building. You start with any crack you can slither your way into and get into, and that's the place where you begin. You look for opportunity.

All right, we'll let's make sure we understand what we're dealing with here. This is a spider. Common spider right here. No, no, no, that's not a spider. This is a spider. That's a spider, OK? This is your run-of-the-mill spider. And there are a lot of spiders. There are a lot of spiders. And the cool thing about spiders is once they've slipped through a crack, once they've gotten into a new location, once they've now begun to leverage their platform, this is the place I've gotten into, it's opened itself up to me, what do they do when they get in there? They spin a web. They spin a web. So they spin a web to catch something. They spin a web and they wait. They spin a web and they wait. They've gotten into a new place. And in the new place, they've spun a web so someone would come along in the place they've slipped into to get into, and now with their web, they're hoping to catch something, agreed? They spin a web like this. Like this right here.

Here's an example of a web they would spin. Yeah, that's a pretty web. They've gotten into this place. It's a meadow, apparently. Now they've spun it, and now they're just waiting. Right? Doing what they do, waiting for something to come along. I don't know, reading a newspaper, listening to a book on Audible, I'm not quite sure. Maybe they have a Netflix account there. They're waiting. OK, here's another example. They've gotten into this place. Oh no, it's a fence. OK, now it's a pasture. OK, great. This is where they're waiting. This guy's got several webs going. He's a very efficient steward. He's a multi-site church that he has established here. And here's another one. This is my favorite of the three. Yeah, that's amazing. This guy's using his head right here. Here's a mobile church, right? He's spun his web between the horns of an impala in South Africa. He likes fast food, right? So he bites the impala. Giddy up. And he's holding on to the horn. It amuses me more than it should. I love it so much.

Now check this out. This is just a couple examples, and you can think of more, right? Why do they always tend to go in my bathroom? I don't understand that about the spider. Like, what's the attraction? It's like the one place you're most defenseless. You know, it's like, that's not where I want to encounter a vicious, grab the shampoo bottle, you know, it's like, what on the Earth is happening here. But they get into a place and they got the world covered. There's a lot we can learn about global evangelism from spiders. Why? They got the stinking world covered. And they look at this big world through itty bitty little steps they can all take that are bite-size. There's a lot of spiders. To do this, there's a lot of spiders. How many are there? Well, we know this. There are about 38.000 different species of spiders.

So I mean, the amount of spiders is huge, Donald Trump would say. There are so many different, I mean, you look at this, and it's like, wow, every shape, every color, every tribe, every tongue, every language. There are so many different spiders from the itty bitty little daddy long legs all the way to the biggest spider that we know about, the Goliath, bird-eating tarantula. I mean, this is the biggest spider that we know about. This thing's got fangs so big they can crunch the skull of a mouse. Aren't you glad that they don't live in Montana? There are so many different spiders. Big ones, small ones, medium ones. There are so many that they say the density of spiders is as such to where on every acre of land on this earth, there are approximately one million spiders that call that acre home. Unless you're in a tropical climate, which we're not, thank you, Jesus. The one time of the year we thank Jesus we're not in the tropics, right?

On the spider talk. That would be nice, Jimmy Buffett. I would like to go to paradise too, but no. On tropical climate land, every acre has three million spiders. And the density of spiders, they live on every continent except for Antarctica, sounds pretty nice this time of year. Oh, by the way, you know how we like examples of stuff, we'll hand you stuff out at the door? We thought instead of this time we put one spider under one chair and everywhere should be experienced. So everyone reach under your chair. See if it's... no, I'm just messing with you. We didn't do that. That would be a way to shrink the church for real. Like, everyone's like, I'm outta here. Honey, I shrunk the church. We went too far this time. I liked the little horse you gave me, but no, that's not cool. No, you didn't. Not funny. We're not friends anymore. They say that there are so many spiders in so many places that you are never ever in your life any further than 10 feet from a spider at any given moment. Isn't that creepy? I'm creeped out by that.

I always think about them when I put my shoes on. I'm like, do I need to shake this out? And I'm so lazy, I usually don't. But I usually think I should, I haven't worn this pair in a while. But 10 feet is the distance. And I just wonder if that's not how God intends us to look at the place we live in. There's not a single person that doesn't know Jesus Christ, that doesn't got a God-following, Jesus-loving person that's not 10 feet from them at any given time. That we're supposed to look at our lives as being always near to someone who needs to be touched, always potentially near to someone, right? And every one of us is different and every one of us has different access, every one of us has different opportunity. Your life skills, your story, your job, where you go to school. It puts you 10 feet from a person who needs to know how valuable they are, that God loves them, that God cares about them. You see?

And he intends, I just pray, I just pray that we would see that maybe, just maybe, in the state of Montana, there is not a single person who in the next week, two weeks, three weeks, is not going to bump into someone in a grocery store line, a gas station, a bank, that goes to Fresh Life Church. And that we would always have the eyes open. Come on, the eyes of a lion, to see these opportunities. That no interaction is too small to be seen as the chance to impart some sort of love, some sort of kindness, some sort of grace. Looking people in the eyes, recognizing they are human beings who got souls, who are going to live forever somewhere, you see what I'm saying? So the question I want to pose to you is this. Maybe this is the whole sermon. Where can you string your web that I cannot? What crack can you slip into in life that would be sealed off to me, but you can get in there and string up a web and just be waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting for someone to bump into you.

Now this is where the similarities between us and spiders stop. Because once someone bumps into our web, our purposes are different from a spider. They want to inject venom into the body of the fly so it can liquefy their organs so they can drink it like soup. That is not what we do. We want to impart love and grace and kindness. We want to be more like Charlotte, that benevolent spider, who wants to save lives. Come on, some pig. Some pig. Terrific pig, right? Even Templeton the Rat at the end got nice. I'm telling you something. There is good preaching all up in Charlotte's Web. Our webs are there to attract people, to reach them to encourage them with the love and grace of God.

So where can you string your web that I cannot? This is an interesting thing. This is the only of the four that is singular, not plural. Because look at Verse 25. It was ants. 26, rock badgers. 27, locusts. But 28, it's spider. Lizard. But still singular. Why? Well, yeah we live in the house of God as a heap, we unite as a swarm, but when we all go to our work, when we all go to our classroom, after we've gathered, we scatter out into the world. And that we do individually. And our influence is personal, profoundly personal. And the chance that you have to touch a life, that is significant and it is singular. So it's where can you go that I can't go? What is off-limits to me? Or if I tried to go there, they'd call security at your workplace.

You don't belong here. But you walk in, not knowing the little ID badge that you use to punch in is the permission slip to touch somebody that it would take an absolute astounding miracle to ever get my voice preaching the gospel, but you get to live out the gospel in front of them every day. And you're resenting your third period class because the teacher is mean, and you hate that subject, and you just can't wait to get out of high school so you can get on with art school, or joining the Air Force, or doing your thing, but what are you missing? The chance right now to impact that guy who sits in front of you every single day. That guy? He's a jerk. Yeah, he's a jerk because his dad beats him. Yeah, she's mean because she was sexually molested. Yeah, he's angry and has a tough veneer because he doesn't have lunch money. And you're there to be kind, and you're there to be gracious, and you're there to care, and you're there to be nice, and you're there to touch him with the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Come on, somebody. Our webs, they've got to get put up in the places where we can slip through the cracks. Even when we're tired. Even when we're tired. I remember not too long ago, I checked into a hotel. We were on a book tour crossing the country. And I was tired because we had put a lot of miles in. I remember we flew in, we landed. Sam, we must have got in 1:00, 2:00 in the morning. John Mark was there, Jen. We all landed super late. And I remember being just tired. I just wanted to get horizontal immediately. And we're at the front desk, the girl there, she says, well, what brings you to New Orleans. And I said to her, oh, I wrote a book, and we're doing a little bit of a book tour. The publisher helped us put together. And she said, what's the book about? Oh, Jesus, I just want to go to bed. Just give me my card, woman, you know? And I stopped and I said, you know, and I chose to engage. Because you can look at customer service people and engage or treat them like they're a robot. Treat them like they're a piece of furniture. Just be on your phone, not even looking.

Oh, yeah, yeah. And then look at them almost like they're just a hurdle to you getting to what you want. But I chose to stop right there, put my bag down, and I engaged for a second. I just said, my book's about how to get through impossible circumstances in your life. How to make it through tough stuff you face. And she said, that sounds like a book I need. And so we talked for a bit, told her about the event, invited her to come. Well, check this out. This is her at the event when she showed up. And this is what we found out about her. That she had just lost her mother, she had just moved from DC to New Orleans, she was going through a difficult time. And in her own words, she had been looking for a church, and so she was able to find one. Why? I strung up a web where I had permission.

I've got a friend who draws stuff and lives in LA and he just does such good work that Disney has sought him to do murals for him. And he has the platform now, an expanding platform to speak to people. To speak to people on issues, to speak to people about his passions. If you put your heart into your athletics and if you're the best of the best of the best, people are going to want to listen to what you have to say on other life subjects as well. So use your opportunity, yes, but also make sure that you don't let that impact the quality of the job that you do. I remember when I worked at Chili's. I was a busboy. One of my favorite jobs I had because it taught me the discipline of hard work and it taught me the power of just being a servant. I would clear tables, specifically of mugs, drinks, and that sort of thing. The waiters would pre-bus the tables, get rid of the meals as soon as they were done eating, and I would come in when the customer left, and knock out all the cups that remained.

And if the waiters and waitresses were lazy, I'd get the plates too. And I just said, you know, if I'm here, I'm not just going to just sit in the back, you know, drinking Coke like some of the busboys would do. I'm just going to go out there and just work. And I'm just going to work my little butt off. And so that's what I did. And soon I just kind of had this reputation among the waitstaff, like if he was bussing your tables, it would just always be clean. The turnover, they'd have more customers, more money from the night. So I started getting requested, they wanted me to work their tables more, work their shifts more. And I had this one general manager who was kind of a raunchy guy. Anytime I overheard him talking behind the line, it was always filthy, it was always just absolutely, about some girl in the bar or just some horrible thing. Something he had done the night before.

So it was just, like, not awesome encounters. But I remember I had done my first interview with him and I told him I need Sundays off because I go to church. And that was it. I never shared the gospel with the guy, never had the opportunity to. I just came to Chili's and worked my dang butt off. And I would come home smelling like Awesome Blossoms. And I remember that. And my dad always taught me, you know, you've got to have a work ethic. You've just got to work. If you're going to be there, you're going to be there. You're going to get something done. And so that was instilled in me. And so I remember one day, he grabbed me by the shoulder, and he said, hey Lusko, this is like maybe seven months into working there. He says to me, you got any other Christian buddies at that church of yours? And I was like, yes, sir. I think I do. Why? And he goes, because you know what, if they all work as hard as you do, I'd hire only Christians in this store. And I was just like, you know what, what a great thing.

Come on, I'm telling you the quality of your work, I don't care if you're pulling mugs off of a table. The quality of your work can cause the volume on your life to get louder, church. All right, I got a third. Do you want to hear it? Integrity. Third thing we can learn from spiders, about spider webs in specific, is integrity. I was doing a lot of research on spider webs this week. It occupied a lot of my time. I'm ashamed to say. I found some things that were just weird, like scientists have found that spiders, their web spinning abilities are impacted by drug use. Yeah. It's true. This is real. Can you imagine the guy writing the grant to get the research money to do that experiment? Going to get spiders doped up, I consider myself the Heisenberg of the spider world.

Yeah, they say that LSD makes spiders spin beautiful webs. What? Like, could you imagine that poor spider? He's like, that was weird. When he calls your name, run. Lucy in the sky. But they say caffeine makes the spiders been terrible, weird webs. Like I saw the pictures. Google it yourself. Like, they're like that's not going to catch anything, it's like a Picasso web. It doesn't even make any, the spider's like, hm. Double espresso. Very funny to me. What does that have to do with my sermon? Absolutely nothing. Please disregard anything you heard just now. But what I did unearth about spider webs that was pertinent to our topic at hand is this, spiders are considered geniuses at structural engineering. At putting webs up in such a way that the wind doesn't take them down and that they can handle the load of a large insect, a big bumblebee.

Some spider webs are so strong that even birds can get stuck in them. We know Frodo got stuck in one one time. And that's not in the Bible. But here's how it works. Spider silk, the dragline, remember we talked about that? That it's the majority? A spider has so much of it. They've pulled as much as 100 meters of dragline out of one black widow spider. And the scientist said that if you give them just one locust to eat, oh no, they're all connected. Spiders eating the locusts. He will replenish his entire stash of the liquid he turns into this 100 meter dragline almost immediately. That's how quickly he can get more of this dragline. But they say the stuff, the silk, is stronger than steel and tougher than Kevlar, if you compare molecule to molecule. And those scientists have been unable to replicate the manufacturing of spider silk, though they've tried by injecting spider DNA into caterpillars.

This is real. They're going to create a monster. I know about this. I saw... stop. Peter Parker. But they're doing this kind of experiment, but they have been unable to replicate the ability to make spider silk. But they say if they can crack it, if they can do it, here's how strong it will be. If they're able to make, say, a strand of silk from a spider that's as thick as a pencil, it will be strong enough to stop a Boeing 747 in flight. Just one of those strands would be that strong. Just stop it immediately if it was connected to it like a leash. And it wouldn't snap. That's how strong. But can you imagine all the trial videos? They keep taking these planes off with the thing attached and it's snaps, like, augh, back to the drawing board. This is how I see stories in the news that I read. I picture the brainstorm session afterwards, all frustrated, hanging their heads in defeat. Integrity will give your web you spin stability.

What am I trying to say? I'm trying to say it doesn't matter how you seize the opportunity, even if you have great quality in your work, and you're telling people now with your platform that you've gained this Jesus that you love, this Jesus that you serve, this Jesus that you honor. If what is coming out of your lips does not match up with what you're living with your life. Because your story will lack integrity. And if it lacks integrity, there's no validity to it. And when they trust themselves to your spider web, and strand by strand it starts snapping because it's not strong as steel, and it doesn't catch thieves just like mice, because look out, you're not the real Spider-Man because you're living a lie that you're preaching with your mouth. It's called hypocrisy and it's one of the most damaging things to the gospel that's out there. I mean, you've encountered it. I have encountered it. And I'd like to say, I'm sorry for those you've had to encounter. Who would say, oh, I encountered him.

And because we've all had bad days and we've all done it. And it can be used as a scapegoat and it can be used as just a catchall and a sort of straw dog to, well, the church is all just full of hypocrites. Well, to some degree, yes. And we have room for one more, so please do join us. But to another extent, we do want to be walking the line. We do want to be walking the talk. None of us are going to do it perfectly, but listen to the power of integrity, the power of clean living, the power of purity, the power of being faithful to our spouses, the power of being good moms and good dads, and living out at home what we're talking about here. That's why we always place such an emphasis on the middle of the week. It's great to gather here. But as we said, if what happens on the weekend doesn't impact what's happening during the mid-week, then what happens on the weekend doesn't work.

What good is it to come raise our hands up to God on a Sunday but then throughout the week, be treating people harshly, have a reputation for being dishonest, and unethical, and cutting corners, and telling lies, and not being kind, and not being generous. You see what I'm saying? If we want these webs of love to not just be sticky but also to be stable, we must live out what we're preaching to trust Jesus, honor Jesus, live for Him, and let our lives be authentic from what we say we believe. David said in Psalm 25, he said, let "integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you". Now you hear that and you're like, that's discouraging because I'm not an awesome Christian. I'm not asking you to be. I'm asking you to be an authentic Christian. I'm just asking you not to say something with your mouth that's not true with your lives.

Well, but I've got a whole lot of part of my life that's a mess. I don't want to tell him that. No, no, do tell them that. Tell them exactly that. And tell them that that's why you're so happy that you have a great Savior. And tell them you're so happy that yes, the pit you fell into of sin was deep, and you're not proud of it, but you're thankful that God's got a big ladder. And He let down a big rope. And that your righteousness doesn't come from everything you've done, it comes from everything He did. And where you fell, own the fail. Own the fall. That was wrong, but God is good. I'm going to praise Him for what I once was. Paul said, I was a blasphemer. Paul said, I was a persecutor. Paul said, I put Stephen to death. But I thank God that He saved me and that He cleansed me. I'm telling you something. My purity doesn't come from me, it comes from him. And my integrity doesn't come from me, it comes from him. And I'm trying to fight for and fight from the place of the victory that Jesus has given me. He's the superhero. We're the damsel in distress.

That's how we live out an authentic gospel-centered story. You make it all about Jesus and you live a life of integrity. I got a fourth. But if you're wondering, how do I protect my integrity, before I get to my fourth point. Because I just moved on, but then remembered I had one more thing I wanted to tell you. Happens from time to time. If you want to help live a life of integrity, get that strong spiderweb, here's what you need to get there. Redundancy. Redundancy. I remember when I was reading this book about the military a while back, and one of the things that stuck out to me was they said in the military, they have this saying, and it's in any operation, two is one and one is none. Meaning you always have two plant, two pieces of that equipment, two strategies. Two is like the baseline, three is better. Two is one, one is none. Meaning if all your eggs are in one basket, that's why two Black Hawk helicopters landed in Osama's compound. What if one breaks? That's what they said. Two is one and one is none. If they had one, how do they get out of there, right?

So there's redundancy built into the military, and that's why there's so often victory. In our lives, there needs to be redundancy. A spider web is built so well that one corner of it can fall and the rest of it withstands it. Another corner can fall. It's never anchored at just one point. The way it's built, it's genius. That's why those buggers are so hard to take down. Darn you, you're on the ladder, swinging the broom at them like you're an insane person. Do you know in the Middle Ages there was a belief that certain spiders, if you were bit by them, the only way to not die was to do a wild, frenzied dance? So any time someone got bit by a spider, they would start dancing. I researched that and uncovered it. I just thought it was funny. But I believe our lives need to be built with redundancy. And that's why, yes, we go out to the world, reach out. Yes, we go out to spin our web through the cracks we can get into, but we come back together. Together, together.

Yeah, you go out like a spider, but you come back like a rock badger. Yes, go out and spin your web, Spider-Man, but come back and heap like a rock badger. Go out and touch somebody with the love of God, but come back and be united like a locust. Yeah, yeah, go out and do your thing, but come back and let's lean it to our seasons like ants. Build your life with redundancy. Or you can get so far out there on the ledge to reach that guy that you fall in and you're no use to either of you. It's possible to become so like the world trying to reach the world that you have nothing any longer to offer to the world. We want to get the guy out of the water but keep the water out of the boat. That's the goal. And so we've got to fight to do both. And there's tension to it. It's not easy. But we will be willing to face guilt by association.

Jesus went to the party, Jesus went there. But if we're going to do that, we build our life with such a redundancy that we're not falling back into our old temptations, you see? We've got to fight for both. All right. I felt like that was worth the time it took to get you that last little piece of that. Otherwise, you go home with your puzzle and you're like, what's that hole? Oh my god I want integrity, but how do I get it? Redundancy. Here's the fourth and final. We must live lives of sensitivity. Sensitivity means you have feeling. Sensitivity. I had to go to the eye doctor. They put these drops in that made me eyes numb. I hated it. It wasn't the dilating one. I talked him out of that. I had to sign a special form saying I declined having my eyes dilated. They let me do it. She's like, oh yes, I do. I hate that feeling. But she put these other drops in. She tricked me. She pulled a fast one on me. And she's like there are just going to make your eye yellow and numb. But she didn't say numb. Well played, Doc.

My eyes are all numb and they felt fat. I didn't like it. I was like, ah, stop, stop, stop. She's like, just give me 10 minutes. I was crying. She gave me a sucker. I was fine. True story. But I didn't like that feeling of my eyes being numb because they didn't have feeling. We want spirits that are sensitive. Sensitive. Not without feeling. We don't just go out blindly putting up nets. We go out deftly feeling out each situation appropriately. Did you know, a spider has such a finely tuned sense of sensitivity, even in enormous web, if an insect gets trapped at one corner that's out of his sight, he can feel the movement, the flutter of a wing, through the web that transmits the feeling to his sensitive hairy feet. Do you have a finely tuned sensitivity to the word that's appropriate for the moment?

Sometimes it just needs to be a little kindness, just pushing someone along. Because you know, here's the thing, what I need you to know: people are people, not projects. People are people, not projects. People are people, not projects. Say it with me. People are people, not projects. They're never going to be a tick mark in our belt. They're never going to be a scalp on a stringer. They're always going to be people. And they're not like baking cookies. It's not like 375, give invitation, they will come, I will preach, they will be converted, everything will be happy. People are not projects. They're not cookies to be pulled out of an oven. They're people and they have souls. And if they get the sense that if they don't follow along your regimented plan for their conversion that you're not going to like them or be there for them, we have to be willing to get messy in with people's lives. And whether they care or don't care, we're not going to be shocked by anything they say. We're not going to be moved by anything they do to try and get us away from them. We're just going to be there in their lives to be caring and to be kind and to show their love. We're going to be unflappable. We're going to be steadfast. We're going to be immovable. And it doesn't matter how long it takes. We're just going to be there for them because Jesus was like that with us.

And there must be a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit of God to know what is appropriate in that moment and what is not. And don't be afraid to let God use your passions. You know, I believe that whatever you care the most about, God wants to use that thing to reach people. Far from viewing a hobby, a sport, a leisure activity as the opposite of your calling, I would ask you to look at that as the smack dab center of your calling. You love horses, love shopping, love sports, whatever it is you like to do. That is a natural area where you have an arena to speak to people. It's a crack to slip through.

I was in Los Angeles not too long ago and I had an event I was hosting at the Dodger Stadium there in LA. And before it happened, I went down to Beverly Hills with a friend and we were walking around shopping. And I saw this store, went in, and I was like, oh, I'll get something to wear for the thing I'm going to be at tonight. And I'm talking to the guys, just looking at some of this stuff, and ended up finding a couple pieces I liked. And the guy said, well, what's this all for, because this is going to look great. I said, well, I need it to not have any crazy checkmarks that'll look crazy on camera. And he said, what are you on camera for. And I said, well, I'm doing this thing at the Dodger Stadium tonight and I'm going to be wearing this that you're selling me. He goes, oh, well, you're going to need a couple more, starts up-selling me, you know? Dangit. Shouldn't have told him. And he's like, oh, that would look terrible on camera. The more expensive one would look good. You know, well played, sir.

And I said to him, you should come tonight. And he goes, I get off of work at 4:00. I could. I said, cool, man. Give me your number. Text me when you get there, I'll make sure you get let in. And he's like, yeah, I'm going to come. Well, he texted me a couple hours later and says to me, hey, can my boy come. And I'm thinking it's his son. And I'm like, yeah, your boy can come, for sure. Bring him. Well, after the invitation was given, Pastor Greg Laurie at this event gives a Gospel message and I was doing the hosting. Well, at the invitation, thousands of people are coming down in the stadium to the outfield to come give their lives to Jesus. And I'm standing there, just watching this overcome, you know. And I see this face. I'm like dang, I recognize that guy, where do I know him? And then I realize that's the salesman from the store and his boy was with him. But it wasn't his son, it was his homie. It was like his friend.

And these two guys, these two big dudes were just standing there giving their hearts to Jesus Christ because I had the chance to string up a web because I like clothes, because I like that kind of thing. Like, that's an area for me that God, you could be used getting your hair cut and it might not even be the person you're trying to touch. I think about how Paul ends Philippians 4. I think we have this verse for you on the screen. He talks to the church at Philippi, and he's, like, saying hi at the end of the book. He's like giving the shout outs, like the Carson Daly section. And just at the end, he says this. He says, as I wrap this all up, Philippians Chapter 4, he says I want to say hello to you on behalf of those who are of Caesar's household. All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar's household. Oh my gosh, this is going to end with a bow tied on it. You're not even going to believe me. Paul's saying hello to the church at Philippi on behalf of people who work in the emperor's house. How did they come to know Christ?

Well, I happen to think it's probably because when Paul stood before the Caesar himself, the emperor of Rome himself to give a defense, he was brought there facing charges, he ended up losing his life for it. But he had the chance to give his testimony, to tell his story, to tell how good God had been to him, to tell what Jesus had done for him. And we never read a record of Caesar converting, but perhaps those servants who were fanning him, feeding him grapes, bringing him his wine, standing at the door, some of those guys got converted. They were spillover. The web wasn't even strung up for them. One time I got to talk to a girl cutting my hair and she didn't want to come to church. But as I was leaving, another girl at another stall said, hey, I heard you talking to that girl about you, could I come to that church?

I'm like, yes, you can. Those are of Caesar's household, those who are of the next solo, they say, what up too. I'm just saying in all that we do, let's string up our webs, let's live lives of love, let's share the gospel because it's too good to be true and it's too good to keep to ourselves. And as you do all this web slinging, web stringing, don't forget to smile. Don't forget to smile. Come on, be like this spider right here. This is a brand new spider that just got discovered in Hawaii. And he's not harmful to humans, so don't worry if you see him. But he's perpetually got a smile on his body. I just love it because as we represent God, don't forget to smile. He's a good God. He wants to bless people. He's got the best in plan for your life. He cares for you. Smile, church. Smile. God's good. And his loving kindness is what leads people to repentance.

You know, I've uncovered a lot of images. We've gone a lot of places. We've looked at webs, we've seen impalas, we've seen a smiling spider from Hawaii. You'd smile too if you lived in Hawaii, right? Want to end with an image that I saw that when I found it on Pinterest (don't judge me), it caused me to sit back in my chair, like, overcome for a second. It just sat there on my computer screen and I just felt like this one image was worth any 5.000 words I could say to you. Here's the picture. It's a spider who managed to string up a web on a grain of wheat growing in the ground. And between the head and the stalk is this web. And I don't know if you can tell, but the image is white. The head of the grain is white. And as I was looking at this image, just seeing this here, it just so perfectly articulated not only what I felt like God wanted me to say to our church, but what Jesus said in John Chapter 4 to his disciples after he had strung up a web at a well to catch a woman who was thirsty. He said, "behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest"!

Come on, string up your web. Spring up a well. Let this living water overflow in our hearts. Come on, stand up to your feet. Listen, an abandoned spider web has a name. You know what it's called? A cobweb. And it's good for nothing but to be torn down. May Heaven never look at the cities we live in, at the places we work in, at the places we work out at, at the planes we fly on, at the lines we stand in, may He never see a cobweb where he wants us to put up a loving spider web. Because lift up your eyes, oh church. The fields are white for harvest. There are people all around us who need Jesus. But we've got to be filled up with the Spirit of God to reach them. We've got to be full of His Spirit to touch him.
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