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Levi Lusko - Singing Shoulders

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Nobody plans to wreck their life. Nobody plans, like what are you going to do? I'm probably going to wreck my life. You wouldn't plan to wreck your life any more than you plan to wreck your car. You know, unless you're really dealing with some heavy mental illness, car accidents aren't planned out. And yet car accidents happen all the time. No one plans to wreck their life. No one plans to wreck their car. Yet we wrecked lives, we wreck cars. So it's not enough to not plan on wrecking your car. You have to have a plan not to. The plan not to wreck your car, well, the Department of Transportation has done a great job of providing guardrails and rumble strips for us. That's a plan. I would say we see their bet and raise them another. Say I also plan to wear a seatbelt. I plan to not be distracted while I'm driving. I plan to not be inebriated while I drive.

I think we should have a plan if we're to not wreck our cars. Don't you think that it would stand to follow that it's not enough that you're not planning on wrecking your life but you also need to have a plan not to? What we're doing in the series is we're coming up with a game plan not to wreck our lives. The reason I did this series was so that we could make it as hard as possible for us to screw up our lives. Anybody with be on that? It's like I know myself. I need to have a plan so I don't make a mess out of my marriage. I need to have a plan so I don't make a mess out of my finances. I need to have a plan so I don't make a mess of my health. I want to have a plan, a game plan.

And that game plan is rumble strip, title of my message this week, the finale. And I'll be honest with you. I'd have preached this whole series just to get this message. That wouldn't have made quite the same impact without the ones that have gone before us. So they were necessary too. But now we're really going to have some fun. And if you could get to a place where you are even 13% as excited as I think most of you are about four. There's a few 1.2's. There's a couple negative fours. Some negative 13's. If you could get to 13% as much excited as I am, I'm telling you we're going to experience revival all up in here. I'm dead serious.

And so the title of my message is Singing Shoulders. OK? Singing Shoulders. What would it be like if your shoulders could sing? Come on, give me some saucy shoulders. What would your shoulders look like while they were singing? That's it right there. That's it right there. I need to see all the shoulders singing. Jackson, Fresh Life, Portland, Salt Lake City. Come on, let your shoulders sing. They can sing however. One can do a little more if you need it to. That's a solo. That shoulder's singing a solo right now. But singing shoulders. We began after we laid the foundation week one with a message about how to listen to that inner rumble strip. The inner rumble strip on the inside of us that tells us no, that you feel. That Jiminy Cricket, right? That pause you feel. That little nudge, that gentle nudge. It's not a loud one. It's a little nudge, you hear it. And it's a gentle nudge that could save your life. How do we respond to the inner rumble strip?

And then week three, last week, we talked about the outer rumble strip. The rumble strip of the people who you allow into life. For good or for evil, the people in your life are a rumble strip. Now, whether they rumble the right things or the wrong things depends on whether you've picked the right people. If you listen to the wrong voices, you'll end up in the wrong places. Because things that you have no business doing, they'll go, you'll owe this to yourself. Follow your heart into a collision. But if you have the right people, they're rumbling the right things. They're encouraging the right things. And to a large degree, who you position in your life that has permission to speak in your life will determine the outcome of your life. The outer rumble strip of your companions who help you shape your worldview, who put you into a brain wave synchronization with them. And where they're going, you're going to go there too. This isn't just people acting enough, who you follow.

What are they called? Friending someone on social media. You're following them. Guess what? Newsflash. If I follow you, I end up where you go. So before I follow you, I want to know where you're going. And if I like where you're at, I'm going to want to follow you. So we have to choose very carefully who we allow to be that rumble strip to us. This week, I want to talk to you about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit. But if it's pretty preaching, how I wrote it down a long time ago when I planned the series. We moved from conscience through companions to the comforter. Three C's in a row, which is just like how I did in high school. All right. On a good day. So C C, C, the comforter. The truth is we find it difficult to listen to the right rumble strip. We find it difficult to choose the right people. It's not easy. But good news, you are not alone. You have help. Jesus said as He left to go to Heaven, don't be afraid. I'm not going to leave you alone. I will ask my father and He will send the helper to you.

One of the titles of the Holy Spirit, who also is called the comforter, and that's a great picture too, that he comforts your heart. Some of us need that comfort right now. And good news, you got it. But he's also the helper. The Christian life is not easy, it's hard. Life is a highway. And driving safely on that highway takes work. Drifting doesn't take work. Drifting is easy. The easiest thing in the world is to not pay attention for a second. To zone out. To drift off. To look at the radio for a minute and all of a sudden, you look up. You're like, what's happened? And years go by like that. Don't they? All of a sudden you wake up and you're like, what am I doing? You're doing something. You're looking at yourself like, why would I do this? This isn't me. This isn't what I wanted. This isn't what I dreamed. You wake up one day and you're living a life that's unhealthy. How did I get here? How did this happen to me?

The Christian life, driving on that highway where you're supposed to go takes work. And so we need the helper. Even discerning the will of God, that whole subject, that's hard. There's too much tension, isn't there? Even the thing I just said about the people in your life, how do I love all the people in my life and be selective about who I let speak into my life? That's murky, right? Driving takes work. I mean, you have to scan the road and it's not you driving, there's all these other idiots on the road that someone gave a driver's license to. How do I figure out what they're going to do? And it's not just that I'm look, it's that the girl over here who's putting lipstick on is about to crash into me. And then there's trains and there's animals. And somebody is driving a truck down the road with God only knows what in the back, but none of it's tied down. You have to be mindful of that.

Do you ever drive behind a truck full of logs? Are you able to do that without picturing a log coming through your head? Is anybody else with me? Like, that's all you can think about. Like get me away from the log or the semi that's got like the periodic table on the side of it. Like, I don't think I need to be near you. Driving is challenging. But fortunately, we're not driving alone. We have a helper. We have a helper who's going to help us when it even comes to the will of God. Now, one of the parts of this text that is the most confusing to me as I initially read it, maybe you have caught it maybe you haven't. We've been based out of Ephesians this entire series. A stretch of scripture we'll read in a minute, verse 14 through 21 of chapter 5. But we've encouraged the whole church and all those joining in with this digitally to make Ephesians your home throughout the duration of this series.

There's two sections of the Book of Ephesians seated in Christ, walking with Christ. Seated in Christ, walking with Christ. It's the blessings and the behavior. And by the way, we said week one it's the blessings that are yours already that determine your behavior. You don't do good things so you get God's blessings. You do good things because you already have God's blessings. That tiny tweak is the difference between a religion that is soul deadening and one that will fill your life with blessings and just put the wind at your back. And honestly, it's such a great book. So as we are now in our last week, this being the first day of the week as we gather one more week in Ephesians. I hope it challenges you and I hope you haven't been neglecting that. And if you have, fine, start now. And if you're like, I've already read that book. Change your version. I've already read it in every version. All of the versions that there are. Are you that guy? OK, cool. Read it on your head. Read it on one leg.

I don't know what you need to do to mess yourself up a little bit. Spin in circles nine times and go read it in the woods. Right? Whatever you need to do to feel like it's smacking you upside the head. Don't let grace get common. Let it stay amazing. I'm telling you something. Don't get good at this. Stay humble. Stay foolish. Stay childish. Don't slip into professional mode. Let's always just be wide eyed with wonder. All right, so Ephesians 5, we're going to get there in a second. But one of the things Paul says that's the most interesting is what he says about God's will. A subject that is probably for most of us one of the most contentious issues. What is God's will for my life? Ever felt that? No? Yes? All right, just making sure we're all on the same page here. I didn't stumble into a gathering of perfect people who don't have issues. Because I'm going to bail if that's the case.

Here's what it says. It says in verse 17, don't be foolish. Don't be unwise. But understand what the will of the Lord is. Can I translate it for the street? He said don't be an idiot. You know what God's will is. Don't be foolish. Don't be unwise. Don't not know God's will. Know God's will. Usually, that's not how it works, Paul. I don't understand math. Well, understand math then. OK. I do now. Don't act like you don't know what God's will is. Understand what God's will is. What is he saying? He's saying, you know, don't you? What? What is it? What's God's will? You know. You know. You like, no, I don't. What school should I go to? What job should I take? Should I date this girl? Hey, knock it off. You know what God's will is. You know, don't you? No, He hasn't spoken to me. I keep putting the fleece out but it's not wet. Right? Nerdy Bible joke. Like, what? I don't know God's will. Pray for it with me.

I can pray if you want to, if that'll make you feel better. But let's be real. You know, don't you? He's been speaking to you about it. You know, don't you? What's God's will? Love. Love God and love people. What about this situation? What about this? No, stop it. God's will is not where you're going, it's who you're becoming. Come on. It's not where you are. It's who you are. And whose you are. You know God's will, don't you? Quit it. Quit it. Quit being so un what? You know what to do. So the problem and the reason we have a helper isn't because we can't figure out what God's will is. It's that knowing what to do, we so often do the exact opposite. We all know enough. We know plenty. Jesus just let us go and we were like, He never sells anything else. We know enough knowing love God and love people. It's like if I know God's will, why am I so often so unpleasant to be around? I know what God's will is and I'm a jerk regularly, like chronically. Meanwhile, I'm like please tell me your will for me today. He's like love.

Yes, but I need something else. Right? Colgate or Crest? Just don't be ornery, right? Love is God's will. So don't be unwise. Understand what God's will. So the Spirit's not going help us figure out what God's will is as much, I think is give us the power to do what we already know is his will. How does He do it? He teaches our shoulders to sing. Life is a highway. What's a road trip without a playlist? I mean, come on. What is a road trip, how many of y'all love the road trip playlist? It's that and the sunflower seeds. I hate sunflower seeds unless I'm on a road trip. Then all of a sudden I'm like, I have a hankering for some sunflower seeds. Because I'm on a road trip and we need that road trip playlist. And in fact, this is what we find.

Let's once again, for the final time jump into Ephesians chapter 5. We'll start in verse 14 where He says, "Awake, you who sleep. Arise from the dead and Christ will give you light. See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise. Redeeming the time because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be unwise but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not be drunk with wine in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit. Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submitting to one another in the fear of God".

I lived for a few years in a place called Tijeras, New Mexico. And Route 66 runs right through Tijeras. And there's a section of it where the city was having a real difficult time keeping people's speed in check. It was pretty remote area. Rural. It's behind the Sandia Mountains on the other side of Albuquerque. And you know what people do when it's an open road? Well, they're going to drive it like hell. You know what I mean? They're go for it. And so the speeding was really difficult. That by the way, is one of the biggest contributing factors in deaths on the roads in our day. It's one of the top three reasons people's lives end at such an alarming rate in this country while driving because of speeding. And so the city in cooperation with the National Geographic Society and the New Mexico Department of Transportation came up with an extremely creative way to lower the rate of speed. They installed a series of grooves on the side of the road that you would drive on, that your tire would rest on as you made your way down the road.

If you were to be driving in the right place where you should be driving and you were to drive at the exact posted speed limit, then they had a sign that had musical notes. And it talked about how if you were to drive there you could listen for something. And you would find a song coming through your car. It would literally come through your steering wheel into your fingers. You would feel it in your like this area. In your shoulders, that's what they call those. It would almost be like there would be singing shoulders. And this audible, come on, you're not going to help me at all? You going to sit right there? All right, fine. So I'll go over here. So my wife's here. She'll give me love if no one else will. So when you're driving, you'll feel this song coming through your shoulders.

Don't you want to get in the car right now and go to Tijeras, New Mexico? Get you some kicks on your Route 66? It's not practical. We're a church in 12 locations. But let's instead just check this out. But you only hear "America the Beautiful" if you're driving the speed limit. They timed everything of the lines and how they built it. You'll hear a song if you're driving where you're supposed to be how you're supposed to be on the side of the road. What do they call the side of the road? Shoulder. Oh, that's right. A song comes from being where you're supposed to be in relation to the shoulder. All right, so check this out. We have two things now that are thrust upon us. We have a warning because that's what a rumble strip is. That's what it does. It's a warning. And what does a rumble strip tell us? You're moving in the wrong direction. That's what it tells us. When we hit the rumble strip we know if we go beyond that, we're heading towards danger. Don't go any further than this right here.

That's what the rumble strip is telling us, our conscience, our companions. I got to be a rumble strip this week. I was a rumble strip this week. I saw a guy. I was going to the bathroom and I finished. I'll spare you the details. But I was washing my hands as you should. Life skills class didn't get for a lot of people. I see it all the time. I'm horrified. Like throw up in your mouth a little bit. Like dude, what are you going to go touch, right? Washing my hands. But then I had to get a paper towel to dry my hands. And I took a spare. One for my hands and one for the, handle, doorknob. And I go and I'm assessing the situation like Iron Man. Where's the trash can relative to the door? Can I toss it? Because when they put it by the door, that's very convenient. Right, bathroom layout people? Right? Right there. Open the door.

And if you don't, you see the pile of, either put a trash can there or be prepared to pick them up, right? Bathroom planning 101. Right? So that's just what's going to happen. This is how it is in our bathroom. People will do what they want to do, OK? So I noticed that the trash can is there but it's far away. I don't trust my shot. I know if I throw it, 9 times out of 10 I'm going to miss it. Then the Holy Spirit's not going to let me leave until I go pick it up. Maybe my mom. Maybe the Spirit. I don't know. And I'm going to get it. I'm going to put it away. And then I'm going to go, the door is shut now. Then, I'm going to go get another paper towel. And then I'm, so here's what I do. I don't know what you do in this situation. But I get my paper towel. I open the door. I run to the trash can and now I really have to, to get my foot, not my hands, my foot in to the, anybody with me? Am I all alone? Have you been there? Have you been there? My foot's in the door and now I have to rush out to not let the door hit me as I'm going.

So that's what I'm doing. And as I do that final step to rush through the door, I realize I made a tactical error because someone's about to come in. A businessman's about to come into the bathroom of this airport lounge. I could tell he was businessman, there were pleats in his khakis. His shirt tucked in. His shoes, they were loafers. The look in his eye, determined. The phone on his hip, squarely there. Right? He was a businessman. This man was on a business trip. He was getting things done, right? And I realized I'm going to smack, we were going to come face to face. We're going to smack into each other. Because I'm going out and he's coming in. I got the door open. Now I'm trusting myself through it. I'm like, oh, my gosh. And then right at the last second as we're about to smash into each other, he peeled off. He turned on his heel as though he knew I was coming. But peeling off, he went further than just not hitting me. And he went into the other bathroom very quickly. And I was like, that's crazy. I've been in the Sky Club 100 times. I didn't remember there being two men's bathrooms. And I looked at the door and there was an icon of a figure wearing a skirt on the door. And I'm processing this all. But as I'm doing so the door's coming close.

So what did I do? I did the loving thing. I yelled in after him, "That's the women's room". And then I waited one one thousand, two one thousand. Didn't hear any shrieking. He rushed out of the door. He used his hands. He didn't care at this point. He goes, with the whites of his eyes showing, "Thank you". I said, "You're welcome". I was a rumble strip, guys. I told him, you're moving in the wrong direction. So that's what we have. We have two things: one's a warning and what's the other? It's a song. It's music rising on the highway. And it's a warning. But listen to me. Listen, this is where we're going this week. Those two are not two, they're actually one. Why? Because the music on your road trip is in fact a part of your rumble strip. And it is indeed the soundtrack that's going to rise up from your soul that's going to keep you from sleeping at the wheel.

One of the nicknames for rumble strips is wake up calls. Wake up you who sleep. Rise from the dead. The music in your soul is going to keep you from sleeping at the wheel. Sermon in a sentence. Music in your mouth will lift your day. But God's melody in your heart will light up your life. Music in your mouth can lift up your day. But if you can get to the place where God's singing, His spirit's singing through your shoulders, it will light up your entire life. Music is powerful. You don't need to be a Jesus follower. And some of you who are here, we welcome you. This is a church where you can belong before you believe. We're glad you're here. But listen to this. Even if you're not Jesus follower, music is powerful. It is. I was listening to a lecture by Dr. Tim Keller this week. And he was talking about how he's read reports from atheists, people who are just convinced that there's no God. Intellectuals, very intelligent and well educated people who have written that even though they don't believe there's a God, even though they don't want there to be a God, that they have admitted at certain points listening to music that they have found themselves wanting to believe in God.

Something within them is tugging. Something within them as telling them that they should reconsider. That they should think again. And to think about the implications of that. He went on to say that there's something of music that tells you there's meaning. There's something of music that steers you towards hope. There's something in music that's trying to Evangelize you. This is a direct quote from Dr. Tim Keller. He said, "It's almost impossible to commit suicide listening to the Hallelujah Chorus". Think about that for a second. He went on to talk about how both Bono and Anne Lamott, writer, they both said it wasn't preaching that was the first step towards them believing, it was music. And you get good music. Even if you're not a Jesus follower, if you play music well, something of what people are going to hear is going to point them towards God. They can try and say, no, no, west. No, no, east. And it's something saying, this is where true north is. And if you put some Yo-Yo Ma on or you put some John Coltrane on. You put music that is done skillfully and there's something mournful that you hear.

There's something almost other worldly and eerie that at some points can just hit you just right. Why is that? Well, here's what the Bible says. And this is the point where some of you are going, I don't know about that. This is what the Bible says. The Bible says that when God was creating the world, and He did so with the word of His mouth. So when God was speaking the world, so you have to imagine God's speaking stars into existence that He knows by name. When God was speaking this world into existence he did so accompanied by music. You're like, why would he do that? You like to whistle while you work. So does He. He was humming. He was singing as the stars came out. They came out singing. The angels were singing. There was a symphony that accompanied creation. And as things were coming to existence, they were imprinted upon them by the beauty and power of song, of notes, of melody, of harmony. And though it's been marred and though it's been overwritten and though a new operating system called sin has been installed, something deep down is hardwired in that pulls us back to how things used to be when we hear music. Something pulls us towards God. Something tugs at us and says, I know this is what's been installed on you.

And I know that everything that was old was put into the trash can and they hit Delete. But some of those files linger on. Something in the code, come on, it pulls us towards God. It's the power of music. And maybe just maybe we know deep down because of how we were built that we came into being as mankind to the sound of God singing. To the sound of a symphony. That we know one day once again all things will sing. Romans talks about the world groaning today. All of creation is in its beauty that it still has, even marred by the fall, giving God glory. But the Bible says that the whole visible universe is groaning. Grumbling because of what's been taken away, their ability to audibly sing God and to audibly sing to Him. And sing and Herald His praises and declare his great works. We look at national parks. We look at the sunset and we're like, wow, if we could hear it, they're going, that's not enough. It's not enough. It's not enough. They just want to break out in to song. Their voice has been muted because of us. Creationed in sin, you and I did. And our sin has limited their ability to sing out to God.

But the Bible talks about a day when the hills and the mountains and the trees are going to clap and are going to sing. And there's going to be once again. What will that day be like when Jesus reconciles all things to Himself? That's true, ultimate heaven. Heaven's not us going somewhere. That's a stopover. We come back here with Jesus. Our bodies rise from the dead with Jesus, like Jesus. And if the trees can clap and the mountains can sing and the stars will be shining and breaking out in song, what will you be able to do? What has been taken from you by sin and decay and disease that will be restored when we're living in perfect harmony and once again singing with all of creation once again? So singing is in our past in a powerful way that's imprinted upon us. Singing and song and melody and music is in our future in ways that we can't even really rightly conceive today without having to resort to science fiction. To see animals talking and to think about what, well, snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef is so good. Yeah, well, wait till the "humahuma ahi papa" fish is actually like praising God with you. And you could have a sing with him underwater. I mean, it's going to be Narnia, right?

So that's in our future. Here in the middle what is music meant to do to you today? Music is meant to be part of what keeps you moving in the right direction. But only if you have the onboard comforter helping you to do that, making that melody in your heart. So the key then is being filled with the Holy Spirit. That's what we need. We need the helper to come and do that harmonizing that he will do to teach our shoulders how to sing. You have to be filled with the Spirit. You're like well, how do you... asking for a friend here. How does one go about doing that? Because that doesn't describe my experience. I don't sense that a melody always rising, steering. I just don't feel that day in and day out. I mean, my friend doesn't. So how would I tell them how to be? Because I know. I'm man, whoo yeah. That harmony in my shoulders. These are singing shoulders here, right? They are singing, singing, singing. Can't stop them. No, I won't stop them. But how would my friend... and put it in really like terms that a fourth grader could understand. Because they don't like big words, my friend.

So I tell them about how to get filled with this, Paul's with you. And I got you, all right? You tell your friend that being filled with the Spirit is a lot like getting drunk. Right? How cool is that that Paul would give us an illustration that our friend will understand? Because it's something from their life that they experienced before and like a while. A long, long time ago that they one time went through that that was like part of the Paul. I love Paul because Paul tells us you don't know how to be filled with the Spirit. Well, think about a drunk person. In fact, look what he says. He says, don't be drunk with wine in which is dissipation but be filled with the Spirit. How can you be postured properly to understand the implications of God's Holy Spirit, the helper sent from above, empowering our efforts and making melody in our heart? You have to channel your inner Snoop Dogg. He's laid back. It's like sipping on gin and juice. You're like, with your mind on your money and your money on your mind? No, that's different. It's a different thing actually. This isn't involving that. So it's the Holy Spirit.

There's some sort of connection and we need to understand it. Think about what happens when you over indulge in alcohol. When you drink alcohol to excess, apparently that is similar and dissimilar to what it's going to look like daily to have God's Holy Spirit in your life like he wants to. It's similar and dissimilar. What am I trying to say? I'm trying to say being filled with the Spirit is to get what people get drunk trying to get. Wow. Yeah, yeah. It was that good. It warrants it. Still breaking in this new stage. It's to get what people get drunk trying to get. Could you break it down further? Well, what do you get drunk trying to get? Two things: courage and happiness, right? It would be helpful if we had a way to talk about alcohol that was less booze and involved more of the supernatural realm. Wouldn't it be great if there was a word, not just beer and wine, but spirits? Spirits. To be intoxicated well, the Holy Spirit and spirits both influence you. God wants to influence you.

And when you drink to excess especially, what happens? Well, the technical term is being under the influence. And why would you say courage is what people are after? Oh, really? You never heard anybody say I need a glass of liquid, Courage. We drink to feel courageous. Why? Our inhibitions lower. How does that work? Alcohol, when you drink to excess what does it do? It's a depressant. So it depresses your ability to see and perceive reality. Now, just so we're clear, it doesn't make anything you're afraid of go away. It doesn't make anything that gives you anxiety go away. It doesn't solve any of your problems. It just temporarily dulls your ability to care about them. It's just I don't like that. Make that stop. Well, what if we just turn the lights off for a while? Yeah, do that. That doesn't solve the problem. But when you're drunk you don't care about the problem.

And so you're happy now. I'm happy now. Happiness, well, dopamine is a chemical release in your brain. You get the same thing from gambling. When you pull on the slot machine hit of dopamine. I feel happy. I feel happy. Buy it now, happy. Instagram notification, oh, I feel happy. YouTube comment, oh, not happy, right? Usually, right, not happy, right? Who's that person, right? I don't know. He a troll who lives under a bridge somewhere, right? But not happy. But we get that happiness. So when I'm getting drunk, I'm feeling very happy. And now, I'm courageous. I feel like I could do anything. I feel like I could do everything. I feel like I could fly. You can't but you feel that way because you've got drunk. And under its influence you temporarily have this heightened sense of invincibility and happiness because you're oblivious to what was bothering you.

So the Holy Spirit's similar but it's also dissimilar because it doesn't cause you to see less of the world. The Holy Spirit actually causes you to see more of the world. The Holy Spirit doesn't dim your sense of reality, your perception of what's going on. It actually enhances everything, right? Alcohol, under the influence you have less and less control of your body. Right? You're not controlling your reaction time, right? This is why drunk driving is such a bad decision. Because I've got it. No, I'm really great. I can have six beers and drive. This is perfect. I've done it for years, right? But it's a fact that your response time in hitting the break is going to go down if a little kid runs out in front of that road. What if it was your child? You should think about that, right? So your response time, you're under the spirit's influence so you can't be under your own control. And you certainly can't be, in that moment, under God's control.

So God's Spirit heightens your senses. When you're energized by God, it's like Peter Parker. You're more in control of yourself. That's why the Bible says in the book of Galatians, the fruit of the Spirit. What's one of them? Is self control. God's Holy Spirit's can allow you to control yourself more. Instead of always shooting your mouth off, you're going to have pause from the inside and power to do what you know is the right thing to do. To love the unlovable. To be kind when you feel like being cranky. God's spirit gives you more control, not less control. And can then actually deliver what you would go to get drunk to try to get true courage and true happiness. This is in Acts 2 when the church began, Peter preaches his sermon. The day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit had just come, this helper Jesus promised.

Why all of a sudden are there all these people getting saved and people fearlessly preaching the gospel and being willing to go to jail for preaching and being beaten but not caring and rejoicing anyway? And what was the reaction of witnesses that day who saw it all going down? They're like, these people have had a few too many. And Peter's like, it's just 9 o'clock in the morning. You're like well, I've met people. That's not a problem, right? I was on an airplane the other day and this guy in front of me, the lady was asking for drink orders eight in the morning and maybe it was earlier than that. And the guy goes, what do you have to drink? And she goes, I've got a full, I've got spirits, I've got wine. He goes, you got spirits? He goes, what do you got? And she rattles it off. And he goes, I'll that that. I'll that that. I can literally see him salivating like that.

So she goes, do you what a mixer with that? Everyone else is like orange juice and coffee but you're going for the hard stuff. And he goes no, no, no. I know just what to do with it. OK. And the guy next to him, I was watching the guy next him like, because I've sat next to this guy before. Not this guy but that guy before. And I was watching the guy like, well, this is going to be an interesting, it was a long flight. And this early to be putting it back was like, this will be interesting. We'll see this man cut off. I don't know if you've seen someone cut off on an airplane before. It's always a good time when they don't like that. But the guy next to him just kind of raised his eyebrows like good decision. Good one. Good one. And he goes, I'm sorry. He stops. He almost could sense us all watching. He goes, I'm sorry. It's not usually this late in the morning when I'm having my first drink. Was like, OK.

Well, that's what happened on the day of Pentecost. You guys are all sloshed. And Peter said, no. You're just seeing what people get drunk trying to get: true courage, true joy. There should never be more celebration, a more confident, joyful, enthusiasm than where God's Holy Spirit is moving in harps. Courage and joy. You know, a lot of people in our church are really tired right now. You know, we've been working around the clock. I don't know if you know but we're in construction. In two of our locations we have building projects in various states of happening and all that goes along with that. But to be able to have church uninterrupted even though the normal place we broadcast from is no longer available to us for the final phases of construction. And to think about that and the fact that we still have to be able to come up with something for television. And to be able to have an experience that goes out to our 12 different locations. And you know how that worked? People around the clock doing what God built them to do.

Now, if you're full of the spirits of this world drunk on alcohol, how do you feel the next morning? Bleh, right? Well, here's the thing: I've been talking to these guys who have literally been burning the midnight oil. You know what there is in their eyes? There's tiredness for sure and they deserve some comp days. But there's also this sense of I'd do it again. I'm fired up. They understand what they're doing. They're energized by God's Spirit. You'll never regret the next morning an act of love. You'll never regret the next morning something you did to bless somebody else. You'll never regret that anything you've done in giving yourself over to Christ. But how many of us can say we regret things we've done while intoxicated by alcohol? Check this out. When we go looking for what's already ours, we do foolish things. That's the second point. We make foolish decisions when we go looking for what is already ours.

If God's given you His Holy Spirit, you have what you would look for in gambling, or what you'd look for in getting smashed, or you'd look for in the accumulation of possessions. Because it's not just in liquor that we can do these things. You can be high in a lot of different ways but looking for what ultimately can only come to that relationship with Jesus. I think there's probably quite a few of us who would say, I've made decisions, I made foolish decisions specifically when I gave control of myself temporarily over to alcohol. That's why He says, don't be drunk with wine: that's dissipation. That'll lead to dissipation. I don't know if you're like, yeah, dissipation. Don't know what that means. I'm that way. Debauchery. It means to be consumed and almost burnt up primarily with a sexual type of activity. And how many bad decisions do we wish we could take back? Things that we've done or have been done to us that oftentimes are either violent or sexual. And they come about as a result of us foolishly looking for what's already ours in Christ.

So to kind of wrap that little section up, let me give you one picture from 2 King 6. 2 King 6, there's this great story where this guy Gehazi is terrified because soldiers have come to kill him. So this seems reasonable. How many soldiers? Thousands and thousands of soldiers have come to kill him and the pastor he works for, the Preacher Elisha. And so there they're in this little house. I love this story so much. I opened up the book "Through the Eyes of the Lion" with it. And Gehazi's terrified. He sees all these soldiers. That's all he can see. He thinks he's going to die and Elisha's not flapped at all. And so he says to Gehazi, what's the matter? He goes, there's soldier's out there. They're going to kill us. And Elisha could have given Gehazi a bottle of liquor and said, drink this. You'll feel better. Why? Because it would have dimmed the lights down. It would have worked. If he would've gotten drunk there, what would he care? Because he wouldn't have seen what he was scared of anymore.

And oftentimes that's our solution to numb pain. But that doesn't make it go away. And that doesn't actually do anything to move us forward in this life that we're called to live. Oh, by the way, most alcoholics in our country began drinking as teenagers. Where their brains were not knowing how to process the difficulties of life without this to get them through it. So young people, listen to me very carefully. Before you lean on something that can't deliver what it's promising, learn to live your life under the control of God's Spirit instead. Amen? Now, this isn't the anti-alcohol sermon. What do I believe about alcohol? I believe it's a gift from God. I believe wine is a gift from God. I believe as we see this, it's a part of joy and rejoicing. But it's also something that can become your master really quickly.

And some people can not have one drink because that one drink leads to the second, leads to the third, leads to the 10th, and leads to bad decisions. And what do I think about AA? I think it's awesome and I praise God for meetings. And I thank God for how people have found victory in their life. You know, what do I teach my kids? I think I teach them moderation. You might know that you're not going to. And yet, if you can't drink a glass, if you can't enjoy it, it's something to watch carefully. Just like so many things in our day. Now, I realize within the church there's plenty of preachers who will get up and rail against alcohol. And yet what is taught about the moderation when it comes to food? And how many obesity related deaths happen every day from people who would give a hearty amen when the preacher says don't you dare have a beer.

Well, there's this book we read our kids. And it goes through different things and it says, ice cream, yummy. They yell, yummy. Eating sand, yucky. Right? But then at the end of the book after going through yummy things and yucky things, it circles back and goes, too much ice cream and they yell out, yucky. It's amazing how much wisdom's in a kid's book. Right? It's like what do I think about alcohol? Like wine, yummy, right? Too much wine, drunky. So this isn't the anti-alcohol sermon. But Gehazi, if he would have gotten drunk, he wouldn't have seen the soldiers anymore. Right. But instead look what Elisha did. He prayed. God, I pray that you would open his eyes and let him see. The Lord open the young man's eyes and when he looked up he saw, look at this, the hillside filled with chariots and horses of fire.

Now, they were always there. The horses and angels, they were always there. He just didn't see them until the Spirit opened his eyes. So the Spirit gives you the strength to face what you're facing, not by turning off your lights so you can't see it but you see more of reality to see what God sees that's all around you. And when you can see the invisible, you can do the impossible. That's amazing. OK. So now, on a day to day level I want to be filled with the spirit. But I don't want to chase what I already have. So how do I do that? Know that the Holy Spirit isn't a force to be conjured. It's a friend to be cultivated. It's a friendship to cultivate. On this issue there's so much weirdness that has happened.

That our stereotypical picture and probably the reason that so many Christians ignore this source of power that's meant to energize their life is because they're afraid of the weirdness of it becoming like my day to day life with God has now become Harry Potter. And I got to speak parseltongue tongue and roll the eyes in the back of my head. I'm filled with the Spirit. Rawh! Look what I'm doing it for you, God. I just see God in heaven. He's like, I didn't do that. That was not me. And the angel's like, did you? And He's like, no, I didn't do that. That's you. That's all you. The weirdness, that's all you. We've seen the weird, little YouTube clips and stuff on TV. Preacher and the church and all in a frenzy and barking and foaming at the mouth. Like that's not what we're talking about here.

But get this: the abuse of the Spirit isn't just what I just described. The abuse of the Holy Spirit is also neglect of the Spirit. Neglecting the Holy Spirit, that's technically abuse too. So what do we want to do instead? We don't conjure it up like a force. We cultivate the friendship with the Holy Spirit. And that's supernatural but it's very, very, very, very natural. It's effortless like any other relationship. And here's one of the most simple things you can do. You want to walk more in the fullness of God's Holy Spirit? Practice gratitude. Practice gratitude. Look at the text. It says, after talking about being filled with the Spirit, give thanks for all things. Here's a practical to-do this week: go write 20 thank you notes. Send thank you text messages. Get in the rhythm and habit of saying thank you to people, telling people what they mean to you. Tell God how grateful you are for your car. Tell God how grateful you are for your job. Tell your kids thank you when they do something right. Tell your spouse thank you when they cook you a meal. Just say thank you. You watch that that carves out room in your life for God's Spirit to sing.

Second practical thing, make sure you keep engaged with scripture. There's a parallel account to Ephesians 5 and it's Colossians. The book Colossians says some of the same elements are present. This is Colossians 3. And we read about psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. All right, so we got the singing shoulders. But then noticed this, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly". And that is a synonym for being filled with The Spirit. Which is it? Do I study the word or do I trust God's Spirit? The answer is yes. Just like well, should I drive over this rumble strip or that one? Head-on collision or drive off a cliff? Is there a third option? Is it the word or is it the Spirit? The answer's yes. And Jesus answers it for us when he said, the Holy Spirit, when He comes, is going to bring to your mind everything you've read in the word. Every word that I've ever spoken to you.

So if you just trust the spirit, I just like to go in nature and listen to the spirit but you're never reading the word, you don't have anything for Him to hand you. He's there but he doesn't have anything to give to you. He wants to hand to you in the right moment when you need a verse to stand on, a promise to remember, something to tell somebody, something to live out, something to declare, something to believe, something to praise God for. You need the word so the Holy Spirit can do his work. And isn't that funny how it's connected to alcohol? Because how many people get drunk to forget? We read the word so the Holy Spirit can help us remember. I'm telling you something: living under the Spirit's control is the only way to true life, to true joy, to true and lasting peace and purpose. But it does include singing. It does include singing. Yes, it's the word and yes, it's gratitude. But it is connected inseparably to the song. What do you mean? I mean worship is more than singing but it's not less. Jot that down. Worship is more than singing.

Team, come on up here. Help me jot this down. Seems like an appropriate time to bring the band up, right? Worship is more than singing. Certainly. Worship's not just singing. What's the definition of worship? Worship, here's what I think, is doing everything you do in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you can do something in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that's worship. Pretty good little acid test. Before you do something just think, could I sing a worship song while I'm doing this? Could I sing a worship song while I'm doing this? Will that change your schedule? Will it change your life? Will it change what movies you watch? Could I worship Jesus right now? Could I do this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, this business deal? Could I say this? Could I write this email? Can I do this as an act of worship? Because all of life's meant to be this act of worship. Our giving, our serving, our work: everything all to worship Jesus Christ. You never stop worshipping, OK?

So worship is more than singing but it's not less. And that means if you show up late for church because oh, that worship part. I remember the singing part. You know, you're missing out. Worship is more than singing but not less. Singing is a part of worship. And That's why He tells us how to live this life of the Spirit. It's in psalms and hymns. Verse 19. And spiritual songs making melody in your heart to the Lord. This is one of over 100 times in the Bible that you're told to sing to God. It's the second most commanded Christian discipline in scripture behind prayer. Sing. Sing to Him. Sing to the Lord. Sing, shout, sing, clap, sing, shout, sing. It's commanded to be rising from your mouth to the Lord all the time. But, listen, this is my favorite part of the message. Not just a song you sing to the Lord, it should be a song you sing with the Lord. And what will change the game for you in worship is when you realize that He is singing too. There's lots of places I could point you to to prove this. But my favorite is in Luke's Gospel. That story of the prodigal son. That story of the lost coin. That story of the lost sheep. 100 sheep. One gets lost. The shepherd doesn't go, I got 99 others. No, no. He finds someone to watch the 99. He rushes out. No stone unturned.

That's you, beloved. That's you, a daughter of the King. That's you, young man. He won't leave you. He loves you. He cares for you. You are foolish, you shouldn't have gone. You knew better. He doesn't care at all. He rumbled you and now he's chasing after you. He can't stop. He won't stop. And when he finds you, if you're wounded, if you're sick, if you're in the mouth of a lion, if you're addicted, if you're strung out. If you're even high now from last night's party, He's going to get you. And what does He do when he finds you? The Bible says, look at it. He grabs you and he puts you on His shoulders and goes His way rejoicing. He puts you on His shoulders and He celebrates all the way home. And He sings the song because He's got you on his shoulders. He's a good, good shepherd. He's a good, good father and he loves you. So join now is song. Sing with Him. Come on, let it rise up in your hearts.
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