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Levi Lusko - The City In The Sky


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We're starting a new series of messages that we're calling Wild Blue Yonder, Wild Blue Yonder and we are so excited about it and I just want to kind of give you a roadmap of where we're going. There's a statement that if you come around the church long enough, you're going to hear us refer to. It's one of our core values and we impact these in a crash course every single week, as people kind of are coming onto the on ramp of being a part of Fresh Life Church, but we say that we risk the ocean. What makes Fresh Life unique or what makes us distinct?

Well, one of the things that we really value is that we risk the ocean and it comes from a verse in Ecclesiastes that is just so near to my heart. Here's what it says. It's Ecclesiastes 11:1. It's Solomon speaking. He said, cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. What does that mean and why would I want to find my soggy bread? OK, so here's the thing, it sounds like a verse about feeding ducks and that's what I thought it was at first, until I did a little digging on Solomon and what he built and this amazing shipping enterprise that under him flourished and began to thrive and became just a powerhouse. Israel has always been just an agricultural phenomenon. I mean, they're able to grow things and still to this day, I mean, they're able to grow so many different things in Israel, but in this period of time, one of the things they really began to export was grain and so when he says cast your bread out on the waters, he's talking about sending out boats just full of grain so that you can trade for other things, things that you couldn't get otherwise.

You're sending a boat full of grain to the far east or to the near east and you're able to see that eventually lead to boats that are returning with spices and returning with peacocks and monkeys and ivory and you're like, what do you need all those things for? Solomon, the guy rolled at a high level, OK. So I'm not like making a case for having ivory. You're like, OK, I'm going to get me some ivory, and then a monkey and a peacock. What in the world? I just thought I'd go to church, what's happening here? He's here giving something more similar to what you'd find in the book of Proverbs. This is like a truism. He's basically saying, if you want to have things coming back in from the ocean, you got to send stuff out onto the ocean, but there's risk involved. Notice there's a separation, many days, right? It's not like your ship goes out and next thing, poof, what do you need? There's not like immediately, Robin Williams, genie, Aladdin, reference, poof, what do you need, poof, what do you need? It's not immediate. Count many days and even then, there's not a guarantee.

What could happen at sea that would cause you to not have a boat full of monkeys and ivory coming back? A lot of things, right. Have you ever heard of the kraken? I mean, jeez, goodness? I mean, it's a real thing guys, but there's also pirates and there's also just storms that could come up, all sorts of things that could wreck a ship and you send it out and that's a risk. It's like starting a business, right? What if we start the business and it fails? That's a real thing. That's the real thing to think about. What if I try and write a song? What if I try and go out for this team? What if I try and do this thing that I just have a hunch I have a sneaking suspicion is within me? I feel like I've got that Mr. Holland's Opus thing going on. I got an opus in me. And what's an opus? I don't know it's in there, though, man. I got an opus in me and now you're thinking, I see a way of doing things that's different an app that could be developed or I have this idea for a product and no one's ever done it before, but I have an idea for, right, and Solomon is saying, hey look, you got to cast your bread on the waters if you want to see it coming back. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But the pirates, so I can't.

Well you know what? Here's the thing, I can guarantee you what will happen if you don't cast it out on the waters. You'll have a bunch of grain and you'll have an opus in your heart, all right, and it'll be like, let me out and you're like, no, it's dangerous, the kraken, right, the kraken, but I'm not saying if you cast it on the water you're for sure going to see it work. But what I am saying is when you open yourself up to risk, you open yourself up to reward and that is why if you're going to be part of this church, at the core of a Fresh Life, of this house there is a desire to live risking the ocean, to not find ourselves at the end of the story when the buzzer sounds standing in the shallow end of life with all of our grain. We want to go. We want to try. We're going to experiment. We're willing to fail. We want to risk the ocean. No, we're going to risk the ocean, and that is the story of what God's done through Fresh Life Church since 2007 when we opened the doors.

That's the story. We've tried a thing and tried a thing and we've tried a thing. We've made mistakes and we'll make some more mistakes, but we're going to die risking the ocean. We're not going to die just standing there, because of the maps that say there might be a storm on the ocean. We're going to try and that means we're going to go out into the Wild Blue Yonder and we have every reason to believe God's going to bless what we're going to try to do, because we've seen him bless as we've had that gutsy, let's step out in faith. We don't have it all sorted out. We don't have all the answers. There's no guarantees. There's no master plan. There's no safety net. We're just going to try. Why, because Jesus. Why, because Jesus. Why, because Jesus. What do you mean specifically, all of him, really, anything you ever could read about him, that's why, because he came and died for our sins, because he loved us before we loved him, because he hung on a cross for me, because he gave me a spirit, because he promised me heaven, because he knows my name and he's got it written on the palms of his hand, because he's gone for me, because he stands behind me, because he's the author and the finisher of my faith and he who began the good works better perfect it.

So you know what, I'm going to live trying, let's live swinging, let's risk the ocean, into the Wild Blue Yonder Jesus went. He could have stayed in heaven, but he chose to condescend. He chose to risk the ocean of this watery planet, a planet covered in seas, a planet covered in ocean, which in the ancient world, ocean always spoke of separation, always spoke of separation. They didn't have the ship that God couldn't sink yet. Terrible nickname for a boat, right? They didn't have transatlantic ships. So in that day it was, the sea meant you're not getting across and the sea so often meant death and Jesus came to this world full of water that separated, because we were separated from God and he is that bridge who came to us and so our desire is to live every last breath following his example and risking that ocean and so that's our desire and that's really the flavor of the series. That's where we're going.

So if you're ready for five weeks of that, because what I just gave you, that's what we've got. We're going to go, we're going to risk the ocean, and this is going to culminate. If you like dates, if you like a plan, throw down your calendar, in your Google Calendar, whatever, December 16th and 17th is kind of the critical mass point of the Wild Blue Yonder series. And what's going to happen at the worship experiences on that week is we're all going to have the opportunity, any of us who call Fresh Life our home, and we say, this is my house, I'm planted here, I'm a part of this, and I have ownership in these matters, we're going to come on that week ready to give an offering, a special year end offering that's above and beyond our regular tithes and offerings that we give and we're going to do that, because we want to see God do more. We want to see God expand our reach. We want to see more seats at the table and we want to see God do more inside of us. We want to stretch our faith. We want to all personally go out into the ocean of our own trusting of God and seeing what he can do and the character that he'll produce in us through the act of generosity that we're going to use the word sacrifice for.

And as the weeks go on, we'll make sure we define our terms so that we're not abusing a word, like sacrifice for a gift that should not be called one and so that to our heart's desire and we're going to spend the rest of the series really just getting our hearts ready and understanding what that's going to look like and we're believing for God to do great things. And as we look to the years prior, if you're just coming in on the journey now, many of the locations, I can count three of them, cannot say they've been here for previous journeys and it's so amazing as each year stacks up to see as we are able to go new places and do new things and come into new cities. But even at the cities we're in, there's many new people at every location who have never been here before. And so you're kind of right now, hopefully it's dawning on you that a similar thing happened at a previous point in time, where someone else who you may never know outside of heaven sacrificed so that you could have the opportunity to be part of this and experience what you're experiencing here and I think that's pretty special that we get to then pass that on.

There was a conversation like this previously and maybe it was called let It be that helped paved the way for you to be here. Maybe it was called multiply that allowed you to have the chance that you have to be here that someone else would say, I'm going to sacrifice. I'm going to sew into someone else receiving, and then our most recent one we wanted to show just a little look back since it was so new. This was called blood and thunder, so let's just look back at that. Together all of us can do what none of us could do by ourselves. Great Falls, Montana, Butte, Montana, the broadcast campus phase two, existing campus expansion, Wyoming. We found Fresh Life in Great Falls and are just so thankful. We love the support. We love the opportunities that we have to serve. And the church itself is growing so quickly and with so many people coming to the Lord. My family just moved from Texas to Butte. We've just fallen in love with Pastor Levi's teachings. Even though it was really difficult for us to make this move, it's amazing to see how God is being going to use us to reach the people of Butte.

We are so thankful for Fresh Life Church pouring in to our kids and we're so excited about the new building, the safety that it will bring, and a new fun place for our kids to learn about Jesus. When I was watching the series Blood and Thunder and the barrels were being turned, I was thinking to myself, man, I wish they would come to Jackson. Then you turned the last barrel and I was so excited. I can't wait for this new endeavor. When Fresh Life came to Portland, it really was a signal of hope for my future. It brought peace in a very frustrating time in my life. I cannot wait to see the impact that it's going to continue to have on the city of Portland. Very good.

All right, so Hebrews chapter 11 is where we're going to begin. The title of my message, by the way, is The City in the Sky, The City in the Sky, if you take notes in church. Hebrews 11 it says in verse 8, by faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place, which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise, for he waited for the city, which has foundations whose builder and maker is God. By faith Sarah herself also receives strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, that's Abraham, and at what condition was his equipment and he was as good as dead, so, were born as many as the stars of the sky and multitude innumerable as the sand, which is by the seashore. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off they were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the Earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

This New Testament telling of an Old Testament story takes place in Genesis chapter 12 where Abraham, who's been nicknamed the father of faith, was just living his life like a regular old garden variety moon worshipping idol revering pagan living in that part of the world in Mesopotamia and God just spoke to his heart and called him to leave where he lived and to travel in two different increments a 1,000 mile journey on foot with his family to live in what would eventually be referred to as the promised land and your like, what could make somebody do that? How would anybody be motivated, and the answer we read it in verse 10. Look at it again in a different translation, because I think it pops a little bit more. It says, Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. How did he do something so, here's a question, how did Abraham have the faith, the guts to venture out into the Wild Blue Yonder? He did it by focusing on the city in the sky an invisible one though. He can't see it and I thought, how do I illustrate this? Like did Abraham really believe that there was a city in the sky above him?

I thought, maybe it could be possible that you or I could be living unaware of a city in the sky and the truth is that we in fact are. If you look at the world right now, above it, above us, we know this deep down, we don't always think about it, but there are airplanes above us and sometimes we see them pass overhead. Oh look, there's a plane. My girls have this weird tradition and whenever a plane flies over, if they notice it, they say, goodbye watermelon airplane and it's just it's what they say every time. If we're just staring and an airplane goes goodbye watermelon airplane and we take for granted that this is like one of the quirks of our family that when there are people around us who don't know us, they just look at us like, that just happened, right? Your daughter just said goodbye to the watermelon airplane and we have no idea how it even started.

We remember Livia and Lenya first thing it to each other and it's just we continue it. It's really vexing when we're in a city with a large busy airport. So goodbye watermelon airplane and there are planes that fly overhead, but did you know that there are not a few planes overhead or a couple of planes overhead, but that on any given day in the United States alone, let's not even think about the whole world, just in the United States, there are between 5,000 and 6,000 planes at any given moment overhead, yeah, 5,000 and 6,000, unless it's in the ramp up to Thanksgiving, which we are now, at which point the number jumps to 9000. So you're like, where'd you get that, Wikipedia? Actually the Smithsonian website. So you have between 6,000 and 9,000, 5,000 and 9,000 planes at any given moment flying over our country. What would that look like? It would look like this, actually. This is an average day, a normal day, just over our country, just the coming and going of aircraft. Some of them are going to other countries.

You see, of course, you can tell where the hubs are and now you understand why when there's a bad storm, the ripple effects in one city causes congestion in another city. You can also see some of the areas where there are military installations where there are no fly zones. Otherwise, planes would be flying over those areas that there are no planes flying over. That's just America. That's not even the whole world, which he's got in his hands. OK, now here's what I really want you to think about this for a second, this is what freaked me out when I came across that statistic, is you know that the world's spinning. So a plane takes off of a spinning planet and the plane has to land on a spinning planet too. So when they take off, the planet keeps spinning and they're flying and I got to thinking and technically, did I land in a different place where I, you know what I mean? That's freaky to think about, just the spinning, not to mention the flying that we're doing around a sun while spinning. Every year happy birthday you. You've made it spinning around the sun again.

So when a plane takes off, it's spinning and rotating and it has to keep track of where on the curvature of the Earth is going to, 6,000 at any given moment over us. They estimate that there are 1 million people in the air at any given moment in the world. What's that? It's kind of like a city in the sky, yeah, like the size of San Francisco, the population of San Francisco just watching movies, complaining that their flying tube is 30 minutes late as it lands on a spinning planet going around the sun. I saw a guy today, honest to God, he was losing his mind and he was saying, how dare that captain say we're going to be on time. We are not on time. We are 20 minutes late. That Captain said we were going to land on time. He said he was going to make up time in the air. He was fuming. Sorry man. Sorry that Captain tried his best to get you onto a different part of the planet and he missed it by 20 minutes. If I was in charge, I'd have dropped us in the middle of the Galapagos.

But to think of a million people around our planet, they're always, there's always up, the moment one plane lands another go up. About one plane every 10 seconds in America is taking off somewhere, city in the sky. That's not what Abraham meant. Abraham didn't leave Chaldees and go live as a stranger in Israel, because he knew there were airplanes, and there weren't actually. What he was believing for was something we don't even get fulfillment of in Revelation form until the Book of Revelation, where John actually got to describe an event that is still future. It was future to Abraham. He didn't even have revelation about it. He just had tucked promises into his heart from Jesus. John actually got to give us a little more clarity about it, about this city whose builder and maker is God, the city that's coming, the city that God's prepared, the city that is eventually going to be seen and be felt.

Look at Revelation 21 verses 1-5. Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth passed away. Oh guess what, in the new edition, there was no sea. Now again, no separation, so when the world becomes new, we don't know if that means the land mass is all going to be one again, but what we do know is, bigger picture is no more separation in the new heaven and the new earth. John wrote it from a prison island, so he was fired up on that, right. So it was like an Alcatraz of the old world, all right. Then I, John, saw the holy city. What kind of city is it? I guess you could say it's a city in the sky, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband and I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, behold the tabernacle of God is with man and he will dwell with them and they shall be his people. God himself will be with them and will be their God and God will wipe away from their eye every tear. There shall be no more death, come on, no more sorrow, no more crying. There should be no more pain and the former things shall have passed away and he who sat on the throne said, behold, I make all things new, and he said to me, write, for these words are true and faithful.

Some common misconceptions about heaven, there's a lot of them, and two that are really important to remember is your body that you die in, you will one day live in again and the second is that we think of heaven as we die, we leave this world, and we go to heaven and that's where we live forever. We're going to live forever in heaven. Well, that is true that when you die you go to heaven, but the Bible presents a picture of heaven actually coming back down to earth and that at some point in the process of Christ returning, the same thing that happened to Jesus' body is going to happen to the whole world, the same thing that happened Jesus' body. It went into the grave as a seed. Jesus said, unless a grain a seed dies, it produces no fruit, but if it dies and goes into the ground, it can do much, it can lead to much. You have to kind of cast it upon the waters, I guess you could say, before it comes back in many days. So the same thing that happened to Christ's body, meaning it went in as a seed, but came out as a flower, the seed was still there, but where's the seed? You can't find it, because it produced the flower.

So the same thing's going to happen to the whole world and to our bodies as well, OK, which is why we do not speak of about the grave as a final resting place, because it's a temporary resting place. The word cemetery comes from the Latin word dormitory. You don't stay in the dorm forever. You're there for a season. You eat too much ramen noodles and Mountain Dew, and then you leave the dorms. To go into the dorms and you come out of the dorms. The grave is not a final resting place, for we believe in the Resurrection of the dead, that just as Jesus said, so we believe there will be a physical Resurrection of the remains. Those lost at sea, don't worry. Those who have been incinerated in fires, don't worry. The matter is neither created, nor destroyed. God can do everything out of one molecule of dust. That's what he started with, OK, so not a problem for him at all. All right, so there's going to be a refashioning and a reforming.

So we, when we die, we leave the body and we leave the planet. We go to heaven, but then when heaven comes back down to earth, all things are once again lived in as they are here now, only not in seed form anymore, in their full and final eternal glory and heaven in its final application is a beautiful, vibrant city in a newly created earth and God's dwelling place that's there, which is where Jesus is currently. In fact, he said that's what he was leaving when he ascended. John 14 verse 2 he said, in my father's house are many mansions. Where? In the city. Where's the city? It's a city in the sky. Many mansions, if it were not so, I has told you. I've gone to prepare a place for you. The city once again comes to this world that's been totally overhauled and restored and made vibrant and made new and now there's not separation and now there's not death and now there's not tears and these former things have passed away and that is where we live forever, back on earth once again.

That gives dignity to this earth. That gives dignity to our bodies as well. It causes us to care about how we treat this planet and care about how we treat this world. Yes it's going to be completely overhauled, but this is the seed. We don't want to abuse the seed and so that's the heart there. So some ideas about heaven that you need to understand, that heaven is going to eventually be on this planet once again and that should drive us as it drove Abraham. My kind of big idea here is that we should fight to keep our eye on the city in the sky while we're here on this earth. That should be our desire. What are some barriers to that? What are the barriers to Wild Blue Yonder living? Well I made a little list, jot them down. There are four of them. Barrier number one is comfort. I think if Abraham prioritized comfort like many of us prioritize comfort, he would've stayed in Ur. What was the journey like as an old man with an old wife, how was his body Again I can't remember, as good as dead.

You ever done 1,000 mile road trip without a car in a body as good as dead? That's not a great time and the sand people. That's Star Wars, sorry different story, but marauders and I mean, it would have been difficult and treacherous and just in every way imaginable to be trekking across the desert. So if comfort would've been a priority, he would not have ventured out into the unknown, would he have? No, he would have stay where he was safe, where he was comfortable, but we've said this, we've said, comfort zones don't keep your life safe, they keep your life small. You can't do something great while you're living a comfortable life as well. It takes that being uncomfortable to do something great. So what's the remedy for this barrier? Well, I think the remedy for comfort is compassion. Don't just fight your comfort. Try and raise your level of compassion. The more you care, the more you'll risk. The more you care, the more you'll lay your life down. If you love someone, you will always lay your life down for them.

Think about the amount of things that you're willing to endure if your heart is to reach people. I don't know that I've ever, I've been in quite a few firetrucks in my life. I've never seen massage chairs in there. There's no massage chairs. I'm not going to go to fight a fire unless there's a massage chair, said the firefighter never, because they're willing to endure whatever. That's not the point. The point's not my comfort. The point's I'm going to save a life. It's no frills. It's whatever just can get me there the fastest. It's how do I get water on the fire, how do I get the people who are dying of smoke inhalation out of that building, where do the jaws of life go, yeah, so I can get the car open, so the person that's bleeding out on the roadside, totally important. Lazy-boy plushness, not really the priority. Humvee's a rugged. Humvees gets a bloody, utilitarian environment. Paramedics, they're not, these aren't comfortable and that's not the point. It's about the stretcher in the back of the ambulance and if we want to cure the comfort creature, comfort thing that creeps into churches so often where it's all about me and I don't really like this and this don't stretch my faith here.

That, once again, will cause walls to come to a place where we cannot do the great things God wants us to do. Comfort is a barrier to Wild Blue Yonder living and God's calling us to risk the ocean and so comfort can't be the priority. So as we prepare these gifts on December 16th and 17th, let me tell you, if you're comfortable as you write the check, you're doing it wrong. If it's easy, you're doing it wrong. If it takes no faith, you're doing it wrong. We need to be at a place where we're saying, I'm not comfortable, but let's get aggressive with our faith, because God gave everything to save us, so let's go big here. That's the heartbeat. You need to have greater compassion. If you just see your compassion, you say, God give me a heart for people like you love people. Were you comfortable on the cross with nails through your feet and hands?

I don't think so, but there was compassion on the cross. Greater love has no one in this than a man would lay down his life for his friends and if we are the followers of one who hung to die to save us and we're his ambassadors, I don't think comforts the point. Plus, this church does not exist for you and me. We are the church and we're here to reach the world. This church does not exist for us. We are the church and we exist to reach the world, so it's not about us.

So second barrier is clarity, clarity. Don't you think Abraham was frustrated? I don't know if you caught it when you were reading it, but there was not a lot of clarity. What exactly is happening here? Let's look one more time in case you missed it. Verse 8, by faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place, which he would receive his inheritance. That's great. And so he went out, not knowing where he was going. God told Abraham, I need you to move and Abraham said, the answer is yes. Where are we going? God said, I'll tell you when you get there. Just start walking. I remember calling up our billings campus pastor Kyle and saying, what are you guys doing? He said, I'm having tacos. I said, that's great. I need you to move to Portland. Can you be there in a couple of weeks, and you know what him and his wife Jessica said? The answer's yes. What's the question? We want to reach people, so Kyle and Jessica moved their family to Portland, Oregon, because we didn't know we were going to be opening up the doors to Fresh Life in Oregon.

We thought it was going to go one way. We sent some ships out on the water one way and got redirected, because he's God and we need to be a people that can be removed and this is not my seat on the bus. This is not my job. This is not my little thing, oh, but this is how I like it and this is my position. I've always had that position. We have to have the mentality that says here we are, send me. Whatever you need me to do. If you want me to go here, I'm going to go there. You want me to go out? I don't need clarity, I don't need you give me a contract, Abraham didn't have clarity. He just obeyed. He just started, well, honey we're moving. Where are we going? God says he'll tell us when we get there. How do you pack for a trip like that? By faith, I guess. Bathing suit, ski jacket, you bring them both, let's go, and I love that. There was not clarity. You know what there was? There was connection. That will overcome our need for clarity if we just maintain a good connection to God.

God, tell me step 12. Just walk with me. God what's step 15? Just walk with me. What's the one? Just walk with me, because you'll know when I stop. When my pillar of fire stops, you stop and when I dip, you dip, we dip, right? He just said, you just stay in sync with me, and then you'll know when to stop, because you'll see that my pillar of glory has stopped and so you'll know to stop too. Just keep your connection with Jesus. You won't need so much clarity about his will. We're running clamouring about God's will. Just walk with Jesus. He'll show you when you get there. Well, what am I supposed to do after college and what am I supposed to do after this and who am I supposed to marry? Just walk with Jesus and he'll show you when you get. There don't over think it. Let's walk by faith. Let's have compassion, and then he'll show us the script as we get to that in real time.

What's another barrier you could think of that would keep us from this Wild Blur Yonder living? Control, needing to control how it all plays out, needing to control the timeline. All right, so God says I'm going to bless you with a blessing you will hardly be able to contain. No one's going to be blessed like you, meaning if people curse you, I'm going to curse them. That's how much blessing I'm going to put on your life. People who raise their hand against you, I'm going to raise my hand against them, bang, and stuff. That's like a force field scary stuff, right, and God said, I'm going to bless you, I'm going to bless you greatly, multiplying. I'm going to multiply you as you walk with me, and then he said, I'm going to bless all the people of the world through you, all the people of world through you.

Your spiritual offspring are going to be more than the stars in the sky or the sand grains on the seashore and I don't know if you're aware of this, but if you're a Jesus follower listening to this message right now, you are a fulfillment of that ancient biblical prophecy that God tucked into the heart of Abraham on that day, because the New Testament says anybody who is a believer in God through faith is that offspring of Abraham and we are his children in that way. Isn't that an amazing thing, that we're literally, but Abraham didn't get to control any of it, because he was old and childless and he had no control to make it happen. The one time him and Sarah tried to make it happen, they made an Ishmael and that was not a great day, right. OK, so the work of the flesh is not what we're after. We want to see the work of the Holy Spirit, which is why we will not persist in something if God reveals to us that it's not his will.

We're going to let him have that control and keep in charge in that way and so it's an amazing thing really that Abraham didn't have that kind of control, but you know he did have? He did have courage and I think we're not going to have control over how it all plays out. Abraham wasn't thinking about Utah and Oregon and Montana and Wyoming. We are fulfillment of it, but he didn't have control to see that and if he had had control he would have thought smaller. He would never have had the faith think of the breadth of what God actually wanted to do. So we need courage, courage even though we don't have control to start any way, courage, even though we don't have control to go for it anyway. And I love so much the kind of mentality of W.H. Murray, the Scottish explore who said, the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.

Abraham wasn't in control of this all. He's just following , God, but he was willing to take that step. He was willing to move in the right direction. He said, take your sign up on top of mount Moriah, he's willing just to go and he saw providence kick in, which is the hand of God, as he was willing to go, though he was completely out of control and you can't get to the Wild Blue Yonder and be in control. You don't go to the moon and back and be in control. The men on top of those rockets who were literally sitting on 100 foot tall roman candles in a lawn chair we're not in control. I wonder how it feels when they finally ignite it. You think they felt like, I am in control of everything? I think they were clenched and puckered in every way you can get clinched and puckered and they were out of control, but that's why we made it to space and back and that's why we'll eventually probably get to Mars.

And I'm just telling you, there's that willingness to be out of control and to be in danger, but it takes courage and I've been reading the biographies of some of the early pioneers of space travel and interviews with their wives and courage seems to be what comes up, not control. Courage and I think for us to get to where we're want to go, we're not going to feel a whole lot of control, but we will feel courage if we're doing it right. I got to thinking about what could potentially be another barrier and it's clinging to the past. What could've kept Abraham from the Wild Blue Yonder, leaving Mesopotamia, no, Ur of the Chaldees. Guys, this is where they invented the hot tub. And he has to go live in tents in the desert. Clinging to the past could have easily crept into his life.

Interestingly enough, I meet people a lot and one of the questions that comes up is where are you from and I always tell people where I live now when I answer that question. I don't ever say Colorado. I never say Colorado and so they always go, oh, you're born there, and I'll go no. I was born in Colorado, but I'm not from Colorado. I'm from where I'm at right now. I'm from where I'm at right now, because I want to be fully present here and I think sometimes we can hang on to where we were once at one season in life and I wonder if that could have happened to Abraham. Where Ur was such a part of his life, and the hot tub was so great. And I'll go God, but always talking about Ur, and always talking about how great that was, and I'm Abraham from Ur. No, he became Abraham, the father of those who believe, and he lived in the promised land. You want an address? Put it Abraham, promised land, right. I am father Abraham and I got a funny song that I could sing at vacation Bible school if you want, right.

So I'm one of them. Listen, what I'm trying to say is we mustn't cling to the past. God's done great things, but he might do different things in the future in our church and how we try things and what we are willing to innovate and where we're going to step out. We must not cling to the past, of a past season, of a past situation, of a past blessing. We can't cling to the past and always be, oh, oh, I wish I was here and it was so much better then and all the stories and let's just be where we are. Let's be fully present right here, right now, and let's be, more than anything, marked by where we're ultimately heading. So what's the cure for clinging to the past? Confession, jot it down, confession. That's going to be the cure. In fact, that's what the text says. The text tells us specifically in verse 13 and 14 that those, people Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, all of them, they confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly they seek a homeland. They were more about where they were headed to than where they currently were and they were marked by their insistence on focusing on the city in the sky.

Now, as we talk about all this, we have to come on this question, how do you get to be a part of the city in the sky? Well, it's the same way you get to be a part of any one of these planes going overhead. Your name has to be on the manifest. I don't know how many times I've been on a plane they've stopped at the gate, come on and some issue with the manifest. You know what they're trying to figure out? If the right amount of souls are on board. Revelation actually tells us specifically as far as the real city in the sky, the ultimate city in the sky of heaven, that only those there are the ones written in the lambs book of life. First of all, I hope you understand that why we're doing what we're doing is because we care so much about whose names are on the manifest. That's why we'll advance, that's why we'll sacrifice, that's why we don't care about comfort, because we have compassion in our hearts. We're letting go of the past. We're running into the future. We're believing God has more in front of us than behind us. We care about whose names are on the manifest of the city in the sky.

I dare you to give your life to it. I dare you to dream that God's going to use us to reach people all over the world together. Father, we pray that your heart would grip ours, that like Abraham, we would see ourselves as pilgrims. We love this planet. We love our home here, but it's not our ultimate home. Our home is heaven, which is coming back here. So may we fight to stay true to that noble calling to live for the city in the sky. I pray now for anyone here this week who has not given their heart to Jesus, anyone among us who has not opened the door of their heart. Listen, as we're praying with heads bowed and eyes closed, the most important thing to sort out is whether your name is on that manifest. You're like, well how can I figure that out? Simple, give your life to Jesus. It's his book of life. He'll put your name in there.

You trust him, you believe in him, and then you'll get to heaven and find out it was written in there from before the foundation of the world. He knew you. He knows you. He loves you. In this moment, there's the chance for you to trust Jesus as the spirit moves in your heart. He died for you on the cross. He rose from the dead for you so you could have Resurrection power, but you have to put your faith in him. You have a part to play in this. As we're praying, if that's you I'm describing, I'm going to say a simple prayer and I want you to pray it with me, trusting Christ, believing in your heart, confessing with your mouth and he'll save you.

Say this, church pray it with us. Dear God, I know I'm a sinner. I can't fix myself. Please come into my heart. Make me new. I give my life to you. Everyone still praying, heads bowed, eyes closed. If he prayed that prayer, giving your heart to Jesus, this was real for you, this was your moment, I'm going to count to three and when I get to three, I just was you to shoot your hand up. Every location shoot your head up in the air, just as a way of releasing, a way of just saying, this is real, this just happened, I'm nailing this down. When I get to three, just raise your hand up, every location. One, two, three, come on, shoot your hands up. Shoot your hands up. Praise God.
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