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Levi Lusko - Ten and Two


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Well, we're glad in addition all our locations to have people at church online, podcasts. However you're hearing this message, thanks for being with us. If you have a Bible, turn to Ephesians chapter 5. I want to preach a message to you that I'm calling Ten and Two. Ten and Two. In life, which is a highway, we've learned, you can't drive like a G, right? We've got to have both hands on the steering wheel. You got to have hands that, what is it? Ten and two. I know, I know, I know, I know, they updated it. You're not supposed to do that anymore, because the airbags will blow your thumbs off. But ten and two is how I learned it. So ten and two is how I'll preach it. And nine and three just doesn't sound quite as punchy. It's just not as zesty. You know what I'm saying? We needed some zest on my sermon titles. Ephesians 5.

What's my title? Ten and Two. Ephesians, chapter 5. We've been camped out in these verses. Have you just been loving yourself some Ephesians? Anybody else been like, man, my life's been enriched by, that's the first three rows. That's usually all I get. It's fine. Ephesians chapter, they're loving it in Salt Lake City, chapter 5, starting in verse 14. God's speaking, "Awake you who sleep. Arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light". I don't know if could ever read that too many times, really. Because in every season of the soul it hits us in a different spot. An area where you've fallen asleep at the wheel, and you're drifting towards disaster. To hear God say, awake, awake. Where in your life do you need to hear it? "Arise from the dead, Christ is going to give you life.

See, then, that you walk circumspectly, just careful. Be careful, be careful, be careful how you live, 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. And 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". I'm going to really spend some time on that next week. I hope you'll make plans to be with us. It's going to be a powerful time. This entire series I've been chomping at the bit to get to the last message. So you want to be here with us next week as we break into some of that stuff. 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.

And, Jesus, we just ask that you would speak something fresh to us. Something just for right now. Not a word for yesterday. We give you the luxury of being God. If you want to speak into our tomorrow, but we really want you to speak into our present. Help us to see the things we're doing, maybe, that we shouldn't be doing. The things we aren't doing that we should. But at the end of the day, we just say your will be done. You know what we need to hear. And we know we need you. And we pray that as we just quiet our hearts for a moment from the craziness of life and busyness and plans and things and work that we would just hear from you. And spend time near to you, and we'd be changed by it. And we ask that if anyone listening to these words right now doesn't know you as Savior that you draw them to yourself with your love, which we know is what leads us to repentance. We ask and pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.


They say that there are critical survival skills that are key to making it through wilderness experience. And I was surprised to find, as I googled it and was looking into it, that one of the most important and most often overlooked survival skills has nothing to do with the ability to make a fire with a flint. Or to purify water distilled from your own urine with a plastic bag over a hole you've dug. Or knowing how to kill and skin and eat a rattlesnake. All the stuff that we see on... That's how you survive. That's what you do. And and, yet, as important as food, water, and shelter is, that one of the most important, one of the most commonly overlooked mistakes that people make when setting off to go into the wilderness where they feel confident and competent because of their abilities to do some of those and other things that we haven't gotten into. Reading the stars, et cetera, et cetera. Knowing which berries are the good berries and which berries are the stoned berries and dead berries. You've got to figure that stuff out. But one of the most important things is, in fact, telling three people where you're going and when you expect to be back.

That's James Franco, right? Telling three people where you're going, here's where I'm going to be. And here's when I plan to come back. Here's my question. When you end up in your life in a dangerous place or, spiritually speaking, you've dropped off the radar. You're in a spot that's important where you need rescue, does anybody know to come looking for you? Who in your life is postured to rush to you to know? Who is positioned in your life to come looking for you and to send in the helicopters? That's the question. We're in a series of messages called rumble strip. We're using these little bumps or these slits, these dips, that are built into the road, carved into the road, placed on the road for our protection. We're using them as an analogy to talk about what's the equivalent in our lives.

And we're doing so from this text that tells us wake up, wake up you who sleep. Because that's what those bumps are there to do. They're audible and tactile things. They're to tell us you're moving in the wrong direction. We're asking the question, what in our lives tells us when we're drifting towards danger? How do we not make foolish decisions? Of course, nobody argues with these things being on the highway. Maybe a cyclist. That's not a great feeling, actually. In a car it's like a massage. On a road bike with skinny tires, it will knock your fillings out of your teeth. But they put gaps in them for the bikes to get through. I've also heard that one community that is really not into rumble strips is the Amish community on the Eastern Seaboard, because of the horse and buggies. And they just don't do well with the wooden wheels, I guess. I wouldn't know. But here's what I know. I know most of us go, yeah, rumble strips are important. That's a good thing. Agreed? Why? Because rumble strips save lives.

Rumble strips save lives. They only cost $5,000 per mile to install. Which when you consider the cost, the staggering cost of putting roads in and the upkeep of roads, repaving roads, it's a pretty small amount of money. $5,000 per one mile of rumble strips. And yet the Department of Transportation estimates that on any stretch of road where they've been installed, the fatalities on that road dropped by as much as 51%. A good use of the taxpayer dollars, government. Rumble strip. Go ahead, feel free. Put those in any time you see fit. Of course, every one of us goes, yes, please put those in. Because we know. We've all have been touched by fatalities on roads in this country. Which happens way too much. How much? Well, 37,000 lives per year. And that number has steadily the last few years been going up, actually. 37,000 plus lives per year lost on roads and highways in the United States of America. The three biggest factors being drunk driving, not wearing belts, and speeding. Which is really a terrible thing, because all three of those are preventable. None of those things have to happen. That's not animals jumping. The three biggest factors in the loss of lives on the roads in our day. Drunk driving, not wearing belts, and speeding.

Hey, listen to me. We can do better. Come on, let's be better drivers now. None of those things need to creep into our lives. We can all make good decisions. Amen? Amen. So rumble strips save lives. But highways and roads aren't the only places where they need to be installed. We need them in our lives if we are to redeem the time knowing that the days are evil. If we are to, as one translation puts it, make the most out of time. Because the days are really evil. Now, when we think about evil days, we think about a wicked day. And us being tainted or influenced by a dark day that we live in. And, certainly, that is true in a sense. But I think there's also a play on words going on. Why? Because wickedness and speed are connected. If we speak of that car, how fast is that car? Come on, guys, you know that car's wicked fast. That motorcycle's wicked quick. You think about that speed.

I think that is partially what Paul's using as his analogy. Make the most out of time. Make sure you don't let your life be wasted. Don't waste your life, because your life is wicked fast. It's evil how quickly your life will be over. Jenny and I were on our date night this week. We take a weekly date night. And it's just been our habit in our marriage. Partially, because we just really love being together, and partially because of preventative maintenance. We're not waiting until oh, man, were on the rocks. We really need some time together. No, we're spending that infusion constantly. That drip, drip, drip, drip of time together. And sometimes it's elaborate and fancy.

We just celebrated a big anniversary. And so we had a more special date night. We went and saw a show on Broadway, and that was awesome. And yet, the normal it might just be a movie and the healthy dinner of popcorn and Milk Duds. Combined, of course. I'm not a pagan. Ever shake those in there? Really softens them up. Makes it better on the teeth. My dentist is not in this worship experience, so I can say that. So the beauty is that we just get that time together. This week we went on a bike ride, because we're stoked that the weather's been nicer in our part of the country. We've just been having great weather in Utah and Wyoming and Oregon and Montana. So we're on this bike ride, and spirits are high. And I don't know how we got on the topic. But we're sitting there eating some appetizers that we had ordered at a restaurant. And somehow she asked me how long do you think you'll live. I don't why she asked me that, or what she was thinking of. A little nervous to make sure she ate the food before I did after she asked that. But she said that. What's life expectancy? I'm like, I don't know. Let's Google it. So we get on the phone. Turns out 81 for women, and 76 for men.

So I don't know what you ladies are doing. But maybe all the facial lotions or something like that. But you get five extra years. And so we were, then we sat back. And both of us, we knew we both were doing the math. She's a little bit older than me. So I had that working for me. But it's only six months. And so you're going have 4 and 1/2 years on your hands, honey. What are you going to do with it? And then we started to do the math on all of our friends. We're like, dang, they're old. They're one foot in the grave, man. They got 11 years left. And we were just thinking through, what does that feel like to be so close to the end of your life? But then, of course, we both acknowledged that that's a great rule of thumb. 81, 76. But the truth is that none of us are guaranteed anything more than our next breath. And that brevity of life just set in. The best case scenario for me, I got four decades left on this earth. What is life? It is wicked fast. And we want to make the most of our time. We want to redeem our time. None of us want to waste our lives, which is why we need to lean into the rumble strip.

Last week we talked about the internal, well, if I can show you on a highway. Oh, that's convenient, The internal rumble strip on the center line of our conscience. We talked about that gentle nudge that could save your life. If you missed that message, go back on the podcast. Learn how to lean into and not fight your conscience. And this week we're going to talk about the external rumble strip of the people in our lives. How God wants to use the people in your life to help you avoid getting to the end of your life and realize you drifted far from the lane that God intended you to run in. How to lean into the voice of the people in your lives to tell you when you're moving in the wrong direction. My whole sermon in just one sentence is this, when you listen to the right voices you avoid the wrong places. When you're listening to the right voices in your life you will avoid the wrong places. Because those people are God's voice to rumble in your life and keep you from straying. To keep you from living foolishly.

And the definition of foolish living is to live in the present in a way that you believe will not impact your future. But the present always impacts the future. The truth is some of us, we're living in a way that were hurdling toward a future that we will not like when we get there. But we're foolishly thinking that we can do whatever we want, and that won't impact our future, the days that are coming ahead. Let's circle into the verse that tells us what I'm talking to you about. The voices in your life, the people in your life that are going to help you to not waste your life, but to live in a way that circumspect. It's verse 21, where Paul in the English Standard Version puts it this way, "Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ". Submitting now to one another. This is a mechanism that God's put in place to keep us from living foolishly. That is to say submitting to each other out of reverence for Christ. Or as we read in the New King James, out of our fear of God.

Now, let's define our terms. When we talk about reverence for Christ or fear of God, what are we talking about? We're talking about being so in awe of Him, who He is, and what He's done that you're so overcome, that you're so thunderstruck, that you're so deeply moved on the inside by what Jesus has done for you. You're like, well, what has He done? Hello, He gave you life. Hello, He died on the cross. Hello, rose from the dead, gave you a spirit. Gave you a new name. Called you a son. Called you His daughter. Gave you the fatted calf. Put a robe on your shoulders, a ring on your finger. Put your name on a table setting in Heaven. Called you to be a part of the greatest thing going. That is God's plan to save the world, to touch the lost, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to put a bed out for the homeless. To put the Bible into languages it hasn't been translated in yet, so people on the other side of the world could know His name. He's given you, that you would be so moved by your reverence for Christ.

And if, by the way, that's like, well, that's pretty good, I need to tell you. You need to spend little more time in the front half of the book of Ephesians where God just expands your vistas as far as what Jesus has done for you. The blessings in Christ. How deep they are. How wide they are. How big they are. what it truly means to be a part of Jesus's family. But Paul, here, tells us if that's true for you, if you really have that kind of reverence, that kind of awe, that kind of beautiful terror. That idea of wonderful majesty that you know that when we appear before God He can be clothed in a light. And just majestic in all of His ways. And you know the voice of God splits the cedars and divides the flames of fire. And causes the deer to give birth. And caused stars to come shooting out into the Heavens. That you know who He is. If that's true, then we should submit to one another. Your reverence for Christ should cause you to react to His people in a very specific way of submission. OK, we defined reverence for Christ.

Now let's find submission. What does it mean? It means to voluntarily, that's so huge. Voluntarily, no one's going to make you. Voluntarily, no one's going to force you to live the way God wants you to. Voluntarily put yourself under the authority of other people within His body. To voluntarily put yourself in a place of submission to yield to other people in the body of Christ. If you have a reverence for Christ, that is what you will do. Why? Because the people in your life matter more than you know. And that's why we need to circle it to our first point. Jot it down. The right people. We need right people in our lives. To a large degree the people in your life are going to determine the outcome and trajectory of your life. Hear me loud and clear. There is almost nothing: your goals, your dreams, your vision, your job, your hobbies, almost nothing in your life will determine the trajectory that your life heads on like the people that you surround yourself with.

Look what Proverbs chapter 13 says on this subject. "Become wise by walking with the wise. Hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces". Doesn't say hang out with a fool becomes a fool. That's inherent. That's obvious. Hang out with fools and you watch what happens to your life. It's the same thing that happens to foolish people. You're going to become like and move towards those you hang out with. You can't stay wise living life and doing life with foolish people. Inevitably, it's going to rub off on you. This is even true on a psychological, neurological level.

I was listening to a talk by Pastor Andy Stanley. And he's a good friend, and had the chance to preach at his church. And just such a legend. And he was talking about his studies at Princeton University, I had to read someone else talking about them. I'm not going to be reading studies from Princeton, guys. But he was talking about there were studies done. And it shows that when you spend time with people in a concentrated fashion you actually neurologically fall into the same wavelengths of brain as them. Meaning they put electrodes on and have people hanging out together watching a movie or listening to a lecture or just doing anything, and you actually fall into the same brain pattern. Same wavelengths. Neurologically, you fall into synchronization with the people that you're around often.

I was thinking about that as we were worshipping. And I was thinking about how our last song before the sermon, we always lock in together every single location. And we have one band all across the entire church. One click track. And I was just thinking about people at every one of our 12 different locations. All of us together clapping, well, doing our very best to clap to the beat. Yes, yes, we know you're here. And God loves you too who can't keep a beat to save your life. But we're all falling into the same rhythm as we all make much of Jesus, as we all lift up His name. We're all becoming like each other, and the pull of the world is diminishing as our eyes are open once again to the majesty of God. We're becoming like each other, because we're spending time together.

My friend Pastor Craig Groeschel likes to put it this way, and I don't think I could put it better than this: show me your friends and I'll show you your future. If you show me who you're hanging out with, who you're doing life with, who are the core relationships in your life, I'll know where you're heading, because you're going to drift towards those things. We become like those that we do life with. Why? Because they're going to be there to rumble certain things and to not rumble certain things. And if you're hanging out with the wrong people, they're going to rumble the wrong things. They'll discourage your desire to serve God. Discourage the dreams that God's put in your heart. The sacrifice that God's going to call you to. We're not told to be like this world. We're told to be not conformed to it. But to be transformed by the renewing of our mind that's found in this world. We're told to be a peculiar people.

So if the core voices speaking into your life are not sold out, passionate, dedicated followers of Jesus, they're not going to rumble things that would be dangerous and detrimental to you. But they are going to rumble things that God has told you to do. And as you laugh with them, as you drink with them, as you party with them, you're going to think like them. You're going to value like them. You're going to prioritize like them. You become like those you do life with. So you need to choose to do life with the right people. Now what's the inherent tension into such a statement. Well, aren't we supposed to reach the world? That's not very loving to tell people, I'm sorry. I can't keep hanging out with you like this. I can't keep doing this with you like this. Isn't that going to ostracize them? How am I going to reach a world that I've abandoned? Therein lies the tension. And the church tends towards polars. And the church tend towards sides of the pendulum and extremes.

Now someone said that the devil doesn't care which side of the horse you fall off of, so long as you don't stay in the saddle and ride. And this is an area where we need to acknowledge the tension. What's the one side of the attention? Living in a monastery. I don't want to get any cooties. Everybody, go get your burlap sack and follow me. We are not for you laugh but that's what the Pharisees did. And the church loves to do this. We're forming a church softball league so we don't have to play softball with the heathens. You know what I'm saying? This is that tendency towards everything Christian. I only drink milk from Christian cows. I only send my kids to Christian schools. I only listen to music that's Christian music.

Someone asked C.S. Lewis one time what it felt like to write Christian books? And he stopped and said, my books don't have a soul. Books can't be Christian. Only people can be Christian. I'm a Christian. I write books. But this mentality of thinking we can make our Christian little existence, that is completely a train wreck. Why? Because sin comes in, even into the monastery. Why? We all smuggle it into our heart. And it's this formalism. And it's this legalism. And it's this religiosity which is so icky and so gross and so devastating. So that's one extreme. What's the other extreme? So much like the world that we're doing exactly what the world's doing, and now we have nothing to offer the world anymore. Because you can't be an influence while you're being influenced at the same time. And the case for this would be well, Jesus was a friend of sinners. Yes. And Jesus drank, and Jesus was at parties, and Jesus was... Yes, He was.

But who are the core voices in his life? He would willing to hang out with anyone. Go to dinner with anyone. Go to someone's house. Yes, yes, yes, but he had 12 key friends in his life. His small group, you could say. His community that you could say. And even from there, a greater 70. And even from there, a greater 500. And then you see key friendships He identified like Lazarus, and Mary and Martha and others that would follow and support the ministry. He had his community for sure. And even within the 12 disciples, did he not have three best friends? Peter, James, and John who we really did life with. You seldom see Jesus doing anything without Peter and James and John around. And so I think that's the posture. Hello, should we just do it like Jesus? That sound like a plan? Let's minister to everyone. Love everyone. Realize that we're sent out to work, and be in this world, and live in community. And seek the peace of the cities that we're living in and the schools and the parks and the soccer leagues and your kids gymnastic deal. And the whole thing. And be around people. And be salt and be light and not stay in the salt shaker, but get out into the world and love people.

And realize we're no better than anybody. We just have been saved by somebody. And His name is Jesus. And He wants us to be in people's lives. But also know there's also that pull. And if we're not careful, we'll let the wrong voices get into the core seats of our soul and speak into and inform the decisions that we're making. And then we will end up getting pulled from our mission. And then we'll end up making decisions that cause the watching, waiting world go, well, the church is full of hypocrites anyway. And then we're making decisions that put into harm the calling that Jesus wants us to walk out. So right people. It is incredibly important that you have in your ear voices that are going to light the nose up. Remember Operation? Light the nose up at the right things and encourage the right things as well. And when the right voices rumble you, here's the second thing, right spirit. We need to have the right spirit. What's the right spirit? Humility and gratitude.

When someone in your Fresh Life group pulls you to the side and says, hey, can I talk to you about something? I just noticed that every time we're in conversation your husband's telling a story. You're always correcting him. That's not how it was, and then you tell it. And I just feel like, what could it be like if, instead, you were a little more affirming? What could that do? I just wonder how you respond when something like that happens? You know your impact team lead at the church on the team that you serve on just says, hey, I noticed a lot of times you say you're going to be there and then you're not. Everyone's here, and you breeze in late, and you always have 17 reasons. But we all have lives too. And it's just, I don't know if you've noticed this, but just the way that you breeze in late just sends the message to all of us serving on this team, it's just not that important. Or you're serving on one of our worship teams. And you consistently haven't memorized the songs and someone says, hey, could you maybe focus a little bit this week on working the songs. Do see what happens when you're singing something different than what's on the screen? And the person who comes in they're like, wait, wait. Do I listen to you, or do I read it? And lovingly the correction is given.

Hey, this is important. Here's the question. In those moments if our response is humility, we will respond with gratitude. Hey, thanks for saying that. That was awkward and hard, and I realize that wasn't easy for you to do. So thanks for that. Thanks for giving me that chance to grow. Thanks for giving me that coverage on my life that I didn't see. If our response is gratitude and our response is humility, guess what? We're demonstrating the right spirit. But what are we so often do? Well, you're not miss perfect singer yourself. Awesome. Well, you should talk. I've noticed you're married, hold on a second. What does the Bible say about that? Well, here's what it says. "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall". We shouldn't puff ourselves up when someone in our life that we are voluntarily putting ourselves under their authority by being a part of community that we're craving. We should all be craving, hopefully, that kind of critique, that kind of coaching. That kind of help that will help us get to the next level of our development. And not miss out on any of the things that God's called us to do.

We should have the heart that says, thanks for telling me. I didn't see it like that. And the way you put it, that makes sense. And then with a humility that God wants us to have, we will yield ourselves to that amazing instruction. The fact that they're rumbling some behavior that's holding you back. That you're monopolizing conversation, or you're cliquish. You're only talking to these people. Whatever it is that someone would speak into your life, it's just a chance for you to grow. And you can either get bitter and you can always, if you go home and I can't believe they would say that. How did they know? And they don't know how busy I am? It's like, hold on a second. Do I want to grow or not? And if so, then let's demonstrate the right spirit when the right people speak up in our lives about something we're moving towards. Something we're veering away from, and they're asking those right questions. We should as parents we want to be the best parents we can be. So someone says, hey, have you been spending time one on one with your kids? Have you been getting along with them? Are you putting the phone down it at the dinner table? That kind of input into our lives. We should all be craving. Right spirit.

And then jot this down. We should be asking the right questions, the right questions. What is this? This is questions that will provoke a rumble strip. Questions that will provoke a rumble strip. We should not be relying on the people in our lives, our campus pastors, people within the church, seeing something before we bring something in our lives to them. We should be asking the right questions to get their wisdom and bring it into our life for situations they may not even be knowing about. They may not be aware of because they don't see us at work. Or they don't see how we spend our money. We should be asking the right questions. Check out this verse from Proverbs on the subject. It says, "Counsel". What's counsel? Counsel's good advice from the right people, "Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water. But a man of understanding will draw it out". This is a great verse. I was new on staff at a church. I was brought on as an intern for a summer. And it was as unglamorous as unglamorous can get. Mopping and sweeping, rushing off to hospitals and funeral homes. And setting up for weddings and anything, addressing envelopes for the typewriter.

Look it up if you don't know what it is. It's on Google. And just anything and everything. And a part of it was, there was times throughout the internship where I would spend some time with the pastor of the church. And our first time, he drove me to a Starbucks, and we were on a street called Eubank. And I'll never forget. He said to me, hey, there's a verse in Proverbs that says, "Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water. But a person of understanding will learn how to draw it out". And I want you to understand how this internship's going to go. I'm going to get time with you. And when we have time together, I'm not coming up with a syllabus of things I'm going to teach you. I'm going to rely on you having and asking good questions to get wisdom out of me. That puts the onus on you to get as much out of this as you can. Because I'll answer whatever question you're willing to ask. But if you ask the right questions you'll draw out the deep wisdom. You'll draw out the good water.

OK, so that bring that now with you into this concept of rumble strip, and the people around you that you've identified as the right people. People on my Fresh Life group. People on my impact team. Campus pastors, Godly voices, Godly people in my life. And you can have different ones. As an author, I have author rumble strips. I have people I'm running stuff by. I'm grateful to hear what Max Lucado thinks of the new book. Yes, I'm going to listen with both of my ears what he has to say about it. You see, we can install different rumble strips for different seasons and different life. Basically, you want to pick people who you want your future to be like theirs. And that's who you want to listen to in subjects, OK? And so as you've installed these voices in your life, you should be drawing out rumbles about things they wouldn't know about unless you ask the right questions. What does that mean? That means you go to them before you've made your decision. That's huge for good counsel. You go to them before you've made your decision, and you involve them in the process.

A lot of times people go for counsel, and it's really just a formality, because they've already made their mind up. They'll come to you and say, what should I do here? And as you dig in a little bit, you're like, oh, wait. You've already made your decision. You've already acted on it. You're coming now for my recommendation. You're coming for my validation on what you've already decided is going to be what you're going to do. So you don't want to rumble strip, you just want a rubber stamp. Cool. I'll tell you you're going great. But you're not coming for deep water, because you've already clearly made your mind up. And so one of the things that's really important for me in my life is I'm going to get counsel early, early, early, and involving in the process. And not just making my mind up, but then texting a few friends or calling a few people so that so they can tell me yay, you. Because that's not what I want. I want people who are down in the dirt and down in the weeds and know the issue and know the struggle and are walking through it with me.

Don't you see how different that is when you're going to people early on and involving them in the process before you buy the house, accept the job, and decide you're taking the transfer? Or whatever else you might be seeking out their counsel on? You're getting pretty quiet, so I don't think this is helping you. Is it good? Is it all right? All right, so right people, right spirit, right questions, then right posture. Right posture. This has to do with the rumbling that you're meant to do. As a part of the community, you're not just to receive it, there's going to come days where people are going to ask you to be their rumble strip. And that is critical. Let me tell you how that works. You go to someone and you say, would you please speak into my life when you see something that's out of whack. I give you permission. I'm asking you, if you love me enough would you call me out... Will you ask me where I'm at? Would you ask me what's going on? Would you involve me in the process? I'm thinking about dating this girl, and what do you think? Well, have you guys already gotten married? OK, no. Great. Then let's talk about it.

It's a different answer if you've already gotten married. But if you're saying will I be around and watch the dating play out? And if you see one of us, this is what Jenny and I did, by the way. When we were first starting to date, we went to someone right away and said, if you see either of us drifting in our relationship with Jesus or drifting in our commitment to serve here in the house, would you please call us out on it? Because we want this relationship to push us towards Jesus and towards serving God and not away from it. These are key priorities. And so we were involving voices in our lives with the permission to call us out. One of the best rumble strips we had was her roommate. That's all I'm going to say about that. A lot of Friday nights her roommate got a call, hey, what are you doing? We're coming over. We'd like you to be there. And she's like, I'm the supervisor, aren't I? And we're like, yes. We would like to have you there for the pleasure of your company. Just don't talk to us. We'll just be there somewhere in the room. Rumble strip.

Someone say rumble strip. OK, but when people come to you and ask you to rumble them, and you see something, and you're now called to say something, how do you do it? You do with the right posture. What's the right posture? L-O-V-E, love. You let all that you do and say be done with love. Love that can be seen in your eyes. Love that can be felt. Love that it is so, here's what you want. Here's what you pray for before you confront someone in love. You say, God, please help them see how much I care about them, and how much I want the best for them. God, help them to be unmistakably clear that I don't think I'm better than them. That I'm not relishing the opportunity, excited about the prospect of pointing out sin in their lives. Let it not be at all from a place of superiority. Let it be a gentle humility that I, with love, tell them, hey, you asked me to speak this out. And by being on this team or by being in this group, you're inviting it. And just God's put something in my heart to share with you. That's hard to take badly, when it comes from that spirit.

Look what Paul says on the subject in Galatians 6:1. He says this, "Live creatively, . friends. If someone falls into sin forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day is out". Dang. Drops mic. Walks off the stage, right? This mentality that says as I come to you, I recognize I'm blowing it too... We all need help. I just wanted to put this on your radar. And that also means that you're not gossiping about it around town to other people. You're just going to them, and you're loving them to wholeness and to wellness. Doesn't that sound like a life changing, game changing way to handle relationships? I think so. Going to your husband, Jenny's really good about this. Hey, we're going to have, we need to talk about something. It's probably going to be a little challenging, but I love you. And I noticed this. And that makes it real easy for me to respond well to. That I see in her eyes, she just wants what's best for us. And there's a real sense of that tender humility there. And we've even adopted language that allows our kids to help us to see our parenting through their eyes. We want that. We crave that. They've never been our kids before. We've never been their parents before. We're all on this journey together. And we know we're going to make mistakes.

All right. Well, that's really the message. But to tie a bow on it. I want to point your attention to a story in the Old Testament that I think really highlights the importance of the right voices in your life. Some of you might know, and if you haven't, you'll, discover at some point as you read commentaries, that the book of Ephesians has an Old Testament parallel. And that's the book of Joshua. That Ephesians, they say, is a lot like the Book of Joshua. Now, Joshua you know led the children of Israel into the promised land. That was originally Moses's job, but Joshua got to do it. Why? Because the children of Israel entered into a 40 year long holding period. A 40 year long period wandering in the wilderness because the first opportunity they had to go into the promised land under Moses, they backed out. Why did they back out and enter into 40 years of delays? Because they listened to the wrong voices and ended up in the wrong places.

The story is in Numbers chapter 13. Just before they went in. They were about to go in, and they just come from Egypt. They were smoking hot out of the Red Sea. And they were on a tear. But just before they went in, Moses picked 12 spies, one from each of the tribes of Israel, and he said, go do a recon mission, they didn't have drones to fly over so they sent people in, check it out. Give a good report to the people. He assumed that come back and go, dude. Bro, guy. The land is awesome. Let's go. That's not what happened. Because it says in Numbers 13 "After exploring the land for 40 days, the men returned to Moses, Aaron, and the whole community of Israel at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran. They reported to the whole community what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had taken from the land. This was their report to Moses. 'We entered the land you sent us to explore, and indeed it is a beautiful, bountiful country. A land flowing with milk and honey. And here's the kind of fruit it produces".

Legend has it they brought a giant cluster of grapes they had to carry on a giant stick between their shoulders. It was like, look how great the fruit is? But notice the problem, verse 28. "But the people living there are powerful. And their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there. The descendants of Anak. The Amalekites live in the Negeve. The Hittites, Jebusites, and the Amorites are in the hill country. The Canaanites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan Valley. They're making a case as to why they shouldn't go because how hard it's going to be. But verse 30, "Caleb, he tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. 'Let's go at once to take the land.' he said, 'We can certainly conquer it.' But the other man who had explored the land with him disagreed. They said, 'We can't go against them. They're stronger than we are.' So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites saying, 'The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. It's the pit of despair. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, these descendants of an Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers. And that's what they thought too.' So the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. They rose their voices in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. If only we had died in Egypt or even here in the wilderness, they complained. Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder. Wouldn't it be better for us all just to go back to Egypt where we were slaves"?

Yeah, that'd be great. "They plotted among themselves. 'Let's choose a new leader and go back to Egypt". "And Moses and Aaron fell down on the ground before the whole community of Israel". They were just so shocked and so appalled at this. "Two of the men, though, who had explored the land", we already met Caleb, "Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunmeh, they tore their clothing. And said to all the people of Israel, 'The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land. And if the Lord is pleased with us, He'll bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It's rich. It's flowing with milk and honey. So don't rebel against the Lord. Don't be afraid of the people of the land. They're going to be helpless prey to us. They have no protection, because the Lord is with us. Don't be afraid of them". What a great speech. But notice the people's reaction. They've heard the case from the people who are focused on the giants. And now they've heard the case from the people who are focused on God. And they chose in verse 10, "The whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb".

So to recap, they're standing there at the edge of Ephesians just like we are, poised to enter into all the blessings that God's called to give to us. And to keep us from losing any of them, to keep us from living foolishly God sent a rumble strip into our lives to rumble some things and to be silent on some things. To encourage us on. And that's what they had on that day. And ten spies said no, we can't do it. Ten spies said we can't enter the land. But only two said go. You have ten and you have two. Ten and two. You had some people saying don't go. But you had some voices saying to go, and they listened to the wrong voices and ended up in the wrong places. But the good news is if we will listen to the right voices we can end up in the right places. And God wants you to be prospered. He wants you to be blessed. He wants you to follow Him and to follow His people and the right things will follow you all the days of your life. So let's not look at giants. Let's look at God and the giants will become like grasshoppers in Jesus' name.
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