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Levi Lusko - Coming To Yourself



Hey, one other thing before we jump into the message, super excited about my most recent book, I Declare War. We put together a devotional reading plan for it so people can, on the YouVersion platform, download for free a devotional. So if you're looking for a new devotional reading plan, check out the I Declare War one, which is up now for free. And super excited about that. The Swipe Right and The Eyes of a Lion ones are there as well. They've been gone through hundreds of thousands of times. And it's really exciting to see.

The YouVersion folks tell us that our plans have a higher than normal completion rate. A lot of people start reading plans that don't, that trail off. Who's been there? Come on. Who's dropped out in like Leviticus in February? Like, I was going to read the whole Bible this year. Something about the fat on the kidneys freaked me out and I bailed. But what's cool is they've told us that our plans have a higher than normal completion rate, so that's pretty exciting. And so this one's out there now. So check out the I Declare War. Yeah. Good chance to stir back up some of those things that we were learning, that's going through the book, and the series, of course. That's out there for free at YouVersion. Check it out.

If you have a Bible, this week we're going to be in First Peter, Chapter Two, in this series of messages that we're in called "Mad About the House". If you're one of the four people who are excited about that, then please do see me afterwards so I hug you. All the rest these hate-filled, frozen people who are watching me preach, I can tell how it's going to go down at the 9:00 up in here. OK. "Mad About the House". Come on, somebody. We're mad. You can't say "Mad About the House" casually. Right. OK? I'm fired up about something. Like, I'm really excited about it. "Mad About the House". We are crazy passionate about what Jesus died for. That's what this series is. He died to build a bride. He died to form the Church. He died to call us out of the world. To call us out of the grave. To call us to life. To call us to heaven. We are fired up about what God is crazy passionate about, and that is the Church. That's what was on Jesus's mind as he hung on that cross.

And so we are going to care for what Jesus died for. That's what the series is about, stirring that up in our hearts. And we've come to a perfect place in First Peter, Two, with a message that I'm calling "Coming to Yourself". Have you ever come to yourself? Where you snap out of a daze a little bit and you come back to your senses a little bit? Has that ever happened to you in your driveway, where you realize, how did I get home? You come to yourself. You're like, I don't remember anything about this drive. What's happening? Sometimes I come to myself eating. I'm like, what am I doing? Have you ever done that? Have you ever found yourself eating something you don't even like? You're like, I don't like this. I guess I'll finish it. What is happening to me?

I got so frustrated the other day. I just grabbed the hot sauce and poured it on pancakes. They were not good. I was just eating them. Like, I was, ahh. I'm all, they're not even hot anymore. I was just mindless. I was just, finish these pancakes. I said, get thee behind me, devil. So I poured some hot sauce on them. Came to my, say "coming to yourself". Coming to yourself. You're not getting a participation trophy for that. I refuse. First Peter, Chapter 2. "Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious".

"Coming to him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious. You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the scripture. 'Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes in Him will by no means be put to shame".

"Therefore, to you who believe", that's the Church, "He is precious, but to those who are disobedient, 'the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,' and 'a stone of stumbling and a rock on offense.' They stumble, being disobedient to the Word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, who once were not a people but now are the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation".

And Father, we thank you for this passage. So much that points us to who Jesus is, to what Jesus has done, and to what He's doing and how we can get the most of all of that, and not miss out on any of that by what we're participating in, even at this very moment. And we pray for any who at this moment are not a part of the people of God, are not a part of those who have received mercy. We pray that your spear would help them to see you as lovely, as worthy, as precious, and to not reject a stone that's actually the chief cornerstone. We pray against, God, a deathbed realization two seconds after we die, of realizing who you actually are when we see you. But it being too late to do anything about it. We pray that many in this moment would come to know you, come to life in Christ. And that it would happen by your Spirit. And we pray this in Jesus's name. Amen.


I always wanted to surf. I grew up in New Mexico and Colorado. It's complicated. You're like, you just named two places. I know. I always get like a deer in the headlights moment when people say, where are you from? Like, where are you from? That's an easy question. It's like, I should be able to go, oh, I'm from, well, I'm from Montana, but lived in California. But I was born in Colorado, but I spent 10 years in New Mexico. Right? And by time I get through all of that, they're giving me the look that tells me, I was just being polite. Don't actually care. Didn't need to know any of that. You could've just said, I'm from America. We'd have been good with that.

You ever realize halfway through a long answer, they didn't actually even care? You're like, I should have just gone like, somewhere. And they'd be like, oh, good. Me, too. It's like the obligatory, "Have a nice meal," the hostess says. And you go, "You, too". And you're like, ah! I did it again. I'm never going do that again. Did it again. Anybody with me on that one? Yes. You get those moments? Yep. Awesome. Those of you are just awkward, like, mm. You look at them. They're like, yeah, you're a moron. Yep. I know. Thank you for that.

So I always wanted to surf, and when I finally lived in California, I got to surf quite a bit. And I had some good friends who took me out for the first time. And they were such good friends, they did the worst thing you could do taking someone out surfing. Pretty much told me, don't die, and then left me. That was the thing they have fun. Paddle like crazy. And then they just bailed on me. And I made the novice mistake of trying to go out at the height of a set, waves come in sets. Maybe it's 10, maybe it's 12, maybe it's 13. But they come in sets, and then there's a lull, and then they come in sets.

And so I, at the beginning of a set, tried to paddle out. And what I did was what you should never do: try to paddle straight out through the impact zone. The impact zone is where the wave coming in from deep water finally rushes up to either a sandbar or to a coral reef, and so now having a deep water wave, which is relatively mostly underwater, now finding itself hitting higher elevation, hitting a hill or hitting a rise or hitting a bluff, is now going to come up out of the water and then fold in on itself, breaking, as they say. And then thus begins the whitewater. And if it's a big wave, thus begins the pain for any moron trying to paddle a surfboard who doesn't know how to duck dive, or in any way what to do, trying to get out straight over what now is a wall of water coming straight at you.

And surfers describe going over the falls. It sounds better than it is. It's oh, that sounds lovely. It's awful. Where the wave just takes you, and you see the wave coming at you. You're paddling like crazy, and then all of a sudden, you find yourself going backwards and crashing down. And now all of that weight of water is on top of you, and you're trying to find your way up. But it's easy to get disoriented when you are under a wave. And now you're actually swimming up, but it's down. And so as long as you, you have to pull your leash to find you. And other times, your leash is just snagged on a rock, and so now you have to get the lead off the thing so you can breathe, which is really important, if you think about it, and this is not a promotional advertisement for surfing, probably. But I found myself in the wrong conditions on the wrong day at the wrong place with obviously the wrong friends, dealing, get a lesson. Just let me just encourage you to get a lesson.

And so I found myself in all kinds of hurt. And eventually, I sorted it out. But not too long ago, a friend really opened my eyes to help me understand the key to surfing successfully. And that, of course, would be, number one, timing the sets is key. But the other is not trying to go through the impact zone at all. But instead, doing what they call channeling out. You see, there has to be a channel which is deeper water somewhere so the waves can retreat back to the sea from whence they came. I love using the word "whence" and I'll do it as often as I can. And you can't stop me.

So of course, I told you that the waves come in from deep water, and then they form into waves where they find shallow water. But then as they retreat back to the ocean, and the moon's involved, and I don't know. I don't want to get into all the specifics on all of that with the tide, because a lot of it freaks me out. But as they go away, here's one thing you need to know about water. This is really important. Water is lazy. It will always, always, always look for the path of least resistance. And you can tell in a second that water is so lazy by just flying in an airplane and looking down at any river. They will never be straight. They will always be so crooked. Why? Because the moment they see a hill, they're like, we're not going that way.

Well, the water is lazy, and so it refuses to go up. It'll just be the crookedest, winding-est thing. Why? Because it's looking for the path of least resistance. Well, water behaves exactly the same in the ocean. And so the waves that have come in now are going to go back out, but it was shallow ground that caused them to crash. So they're not going to go that way. Water is going to look for a path, or look for a channel of deep water. And so a large amount of water will suck back out to sea using what's called a channel, which is a pathway. And between breaks, there's going to be a pathway. But when you get to a beach before you start surfing, those who have done it for a while, you'll always see them channeling out or paddling out at a place where there's a channel in between the breaks.

And so basically, it's a little moving sidewalk to where you can channel out, catch a wave, channel out, catch a wave, and never have to go through what I did, that is, the impact zone. It's changed the way I see the ocean. It's changed the way I surf. It's made it a lot more enjoyable. Well, here in this text, believe it or not, is two sister ideas of a pathway, a channel, so to speak, where it's easy, where you can get out, where there's no impact happening, and the impact zone are both at play. Why is that? Well, because here's the thing. As nice as the channel is, you can't stay there if you actually want to surf. Yeah, it's peaceful in the channel all right. It's nice in the channel all right. It's nice just to be in this lane going this way, and I'm just doing my thing over here, and I'm not having a nice, leisure paddle back out. It's nice over here, but you can't stay in the safety of the channel and actually do any surfing.

At a certain point, you've got to choose to just get into that impact zone and paddle for a wave, come what may. And that is what I want you to bring with you into our study of this text in First Peter, because here he is trying to tell us how powerful, like a wave rushing that can take you, lift you up out of the water, for the exhilarating ride of your lifetime: how powerful this thing is that we're a part of, called the Church. And he helps us to see that by employing one of the Bible's most favorite analogies for the Church, and that is that of a building. In the Old Testament, it was this idea of the tabernacle and then the temple. In the New Testament, this building is clarified as being the Church. But what it is is the dwelling place for God's spirit, a dwelling place for God, where God's presence can be experienced, where God wants to come down to earth and work amongst his people.

It's the Church, and we all, distinct from the Old Testament, when you would go to the tabernacle and you would go to a tent-like structure, and someone would represent you: the high priest. And he could only go into where God's presence dwell between the angels on the cover of the Ark of the Covenant. That high priest could only go in one day a year, on the Day of Atonement. And even on that day, it was so limited that half the time that guy couldn't even do his duty. He couldn't even fulfill it. Sometimes he would die on the spot, because he was unworthy.

So they actually developed a system where the high priest, when he would go into represent God's people, and you're standing there, dude, it was a good? Was it awesome? Did He say anything? Sometimes that guy would stop moving in there. He would fall over dead. So the system they developed was they put bells all over his clothes. And if he was unworthy and fell over dead while he was doing his job, bringing the blood into the Ark of the Covenant, which all pointed forward to Jesus, which all pointed forward to the actual reality that God was planning, it was just a blueprint that he laid out so that we could see what he was going to build.

That guy would drop dead, and so the bells would stop ringing. They had a rope tied around his ankle. They would pull that sucker out. They would bury that chump, and they would give the outfit to someone else, who had better had his quiet time that day, I tell you what. You don't want to pick you. Like be the high priest, you're like, pick somebody else, right? And all of that was so limited. All of that was so veiled. But then the moment came when Jesus Christ, hanging on the cross, when Jesus had brought His blood, the blood of a better covenant, not the blood of bulls and goats. It was the blood of the precious Son of God, the chief cornerstone. The foundation of all that God was going to do.

When He said the words, "It is finished. Paid in full. The debt of your sin and mine has been canceled if we believe in Him". And as He said those words, the veil in the temple was torn top to bottom. Not bottom to top, as though we had worked our way up to God, but top to bottom. Because on the basis of what Jesus had done, God the Father tore that veil in half and said, it's done. Come on in. Enter into the new covenant. Enter into a relationship with me, not on the basis of what you achieved, but on the basis of what my Son has accomplished. And so now it's not a temple. It's not a veil. It's the Church. And it's a church made up of you and made up of me.

And Peter says, don't you see it? You are a living stone stacked up by the Master Mason, who with spackle, and with His trowel, is building a holy habitation, a dwelling place for God. When He fills this earth with power, He's not filling a structure. He's filling each other in our sacred assembly. How does that work? It works like this. When you've come to Christ, God lives in you. And when I came to Christ, God lives in me. But in some unique way, some mystical way, some way that defies understanding, that's more than the sum of its parts, when we come together as we are in this moment, He is somehow more in our dwelling: where two or more are gathered in His name, He's there in the midst. And at this moment, we are living stones who have come together, and God is in this place. The spirit of Jesus is here in power to heal, in power to save, in power to transform.

We at this very moment are a dwelling place for God in the spirit. That's what it means to be the Church. But this analogy of living stones stacked one upon another: it does not imply the idea of a service you attend once a week or once a month. It does not imply a casual spectator coming in and going out, unnoticed, anonymously. What it means is to be known. What it means is to be needed. What it means is to belong. What it means is to be a part. What it means is to be discipled. What it means is to be developed. What it means is to be cared and loved, and all that goes with it.

And if you're in a location where there are bricks around you, feel free to look at them as a living analogy. At this very moment, I know the Infinity Event Center in Salt Lake City does not have bricks, but some of our churches do. And so feel free to look at it as I talk about what it means to be bricks one upon another. Because they are entirely dependent on each other for the structural integrity of the building. They are entirely dependent on each other. They are resting on those that are below them, and they are supporting those that are above them, and they are giving strength to those that are beside them. That's what it means to be a brick.

And the Bible says, you are a living stone. You are a brick in this building that God is... And if you could just come and go without anyone caring, come and go without anyone knowing, you're not a brick. You're not a part of the structure. There should be those who go, oh, so-an-so, she's not here. She's not here. Where's she at? Where's he at? Hasn't been here for awhile. Care about them. They have a part to play. They haven't been giving. They're not pulling their load. Man, are they not praying? What's going on? Because all of a sudden, this shaky house feels like Jenga.

Now, it's all of a sudden. And if your absence can go unnoticed, if your contribution is not felt, if your giving, if your serving, if your pray, if you're not vibrantly, intrinsically connected into the warp and the wolf, into the sinew, into the part and the parcel, if you're not in the guts of this thing, I'm telling you, if you don't have ownership in this thing, if there's not skin in the game in this thing, I'm going to tell you something. Then how can you say you're a living stone? Right. How can you say you're helping hold this thing together with your prayers and with your gifts and with you, how can you?

Because let me just tell you something. What Peter is trying to tell you, what we need to understand, what we need to see is to the degree that you're doing life with God's people in that way as a living stone. To the degree that you're doing that, you will experience the glory of God in your life. Peter's telling you that you're doing that, living stone, you will experience the glory of God in your life. What will this work like? Number one, it will look like revelation. To the degree that you're a living stone, you will experience rich revelation and contribute to the rich revelation.

What do I mean? I mean this. In a way that you cannot experience God on your own in your own quiet time, in a way that you cannot experience God in nature. As great as a podcast is, I believe, in a way that you cannot experience God through a podcast or even a book study, in a way that you can't know God. You can know him in a part, in a moment, in a lifestyle, in an experience where you're a part of the Church that Jesus is building. What do I mean? I mean this. I mean intimacy comes through community. Intimacy comes through community.

Can I put it another way? It takes a group of people to know an individual. At least, that's how C. S. Lewis explained it in his book The Four Loves. The Bible was written in Greek primarily, the New Testament, anyhow. There's also some Aramaic in there as well. And then, of course Hebrew quotations, which we came across quite a few in the passage we just read. There was peppering in of Isaiah, et cetera. But Greek primarily. And C. S. Lewis noticed that there are four different words for love. We're at a limitation in English, because when you go, "I love you," that's the same word you use to describe the Red Sox and chocolate, right? And that's not really fair for your wife. But the truth is that the New Testament is much more sophisticated. You're not at putt-putt with one club in your hand. You have a whole bag of clubs in many instances.

So for example, love has four different Greek words: "storge," which is father-son love. You have "agape," which is God's divine love, sacrificial love. You have "eros," which is, of course, erotic love. But then you also "philia," which is a brotherly love, or the love of a friend, or the love of community. It's not face-to-face love, like a lover looking in the eyes. It's side-to-side love of someone who stands beside you and moves towards a mutual cause with you. And it is this philia, brotherly love, that is used and employed in the New Testament to describe the love that we within the church should exhibit. Our church should be a brotherly and sisterly kind of love as we are in this family. It shouldn't be like a hotel where you check in, check out, we like to say. But rather, it's like a home. You're planted in it where there's chores that you do. Yes, there's pleasures and pain. And there's beautiful days and rough times and all of that.

And C. S. Lewis was a part of a group of friends like that. You could call it his small group. They even had a name for their small group. They called themselves "The Inklings". And they were all, of course, authors and writers. And so they would gather together at a certain spot, and they would discuss things they were going through in life and literature and what they were working on. It was just, they were sharing in the community of life as believers. And one of those in the group died, Charles. Right after World War II, this man took ill and died. And in his essay on what brotherly and sisterly love, this philia love looks like, C. S. Lewis spoke about what the death of Charles actually meant to the entire group. And he found that it was far more profound than he knew. Listen to this excerpt.

"In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity. I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald's reaction to a specifically Charles joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him 'to myself' now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald. "In this, friendship exhibit a glorious 'nearness by resemblance' to heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed, which no man can number, increases the fruition which each of us has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That, says an old author, is why the seraphim in Isaiah's vision are crying 'holy, holy, holy', not to God, but "to one another. "The more we" see "thus share the heavenly bread between us, the more we shall have".

What is C. S. Lewis saying? He's saying that when friend Charles died, it wasn't the death of one of his friends. It was actually death of two. Because he didn't just lose Charles. He lost the version of Ronald that Ronald became in the presence of Charles. Thus, he also lost the version of himself that he became in the presence of Ronald, who is in the presence of Charles. Do you see what I'm saying? I'm saying it takes a group to know an individual. And the same is true when it comes to God. And that's what the seraphim in Isaiah 6 picked up on, and that's why they were remarking to each other how holy God is, not just to tell God how holy He was, but to communicate to each other what they had just seen in God's face. And they actually took more pleasure from seeing each other react to God than just had they seen Him themselves.

And you're wondering, how are they just going around and around? Because they were having the best time ever telling each other what they just saw. And they just saw something new, and they had to tell someone about it. How frustrating is it to go to a new restaurant, but not to get to tell anybody about it? Bro, you gotta go there. Oh, my gosh. It's so good. You've got to order this. You've got to sit at this table. Oh, you've gotta have that person serve you. They're so funny. They're so great. It's such a gas. My kids are still talking about the girl who pretended to pour mustard on me from a breakfast we had four years ago. Oh, that waitress. Remember, Dad, when she pretended to pour mustard on you?

Well, yeah, the best day of my life. I had to preach after that, honey. That's not funny. I had a white shirt on. It's not enough to see something that moves you. You have to tell someone about it. That's right. Yeah. I had a great surf session on my family vacation this year. Best ever, because a turtle popped up in between waves. Turtle popped up right by next to me. First, I almost wet myself. Which would have been fine, because I was already wet. Right. Because I thought it was a shark. But then it was a turtle, and I was like, oh, my gosh.

And the turtle turned and looked me in the eye. And said, "Paddle hard". And I did. And I caught a wicked ride. It was a great, but I couldn't wait to tell my friend Ricky who had taught me about the channels. I've been surfing with him for almost nine years. Ricky is just a legend. And this guy's wild. He one time windsurfed to between the Hawaiian Islands. Brought a credit card and a screwdriver. Credit card in case he had to fly back. A screwdriver in case he needed to disconnect the sail and paddle back. Just "loco in la cabeza," all right? But the right kind of guy to take you out surfing. But I couldn't wait to tell Ricky about the turtle. Then the next set, he catches this unbelievable ride on his new "foil" board that pulls him out of the water. Google it. You won't even believe what you see.

So he's riding out of the water on a wing that's in the water. He's like three or four feet above it, and he comes right at me. I think I'm going to get past him. Oh, no. He's way faster than I am taking into account. And he comes flying by me on the face of the wave that I just managed to get over before it curls over on itself, and I see the smile on his face. It is from ear to ear on this wave. I'm telling you, I got more joy from his smile than any wave I caught that day. And I couldn't wait to tell him about the turtle. I'm like, "Did you see the turtle"? And he said, "What did turtle say to you"? I said, "He said, 'Paddle hard.'" And he goes, "No, you misheard him. He said, 'Move to Maui.'" I said, "He might have actually said that".

And actually, if I have to keep preaching to a sleepy 9:00 AM... You see what I'm saying? So here's what happens. In the moment you experience something, that's powerful. But then when you look beside you and you see that someone beside you is having that similar experience, it actually transforms and changes it. You see why it's so important you don't miss out on the gathering? Do you see why? Because I need to see God in your eyes. I need to worship God, knowing that my brothers and sisters in Salt Lake City and in Portland, that we're all experiencing God. It's about what we're experiencing together. And it's us actually being transformed into God's house together.

And we're somehow going to see more of God as we share in our groups and in our gatherings and in our rallies and in our moments when we're sharing the pain and sharing the pleasure. In some unique way, we are able to experience more of, it takes a group to know an individual, and we get to see more of God together than we ever could by ourself. So when for whatever reason you choose to stick to the channel, whether you got taken over the falls at a previous church experience where you were burnt or betrayed or gossiped about or didn't get picked to be on the team that you wanted to be on, didn't get the opportunity that someone of your standing within the church community should have been given, because you've been coming for so much longer than that newbie who was given the solo in that worship song. Whatever it is that caused you, maybe it was much worse than that.

There are older brothers in every church. There's the spirit of religion that comes in and creeps in. There's difficult things that happen. There are horrible pastors and preachers who have done terrible things. So for whatever reason you decided to leave the impact zone, and you went to the safety of the channel and decided, whether it was actually by leaving the Church and being Jesus, yes, Christianity, no. Or spiritual but not religious. Or love God, but not into the formalized rule. For whatever reason you chose to stick to the safety of the channel, let me tell you something. Where the waves are, there is the impact zone that can do harm.

And yes, it happens. But that's the only place where you can serve. It's what God's doing. It's where His Spirit's working. It's where God is transforming. It's where God is building. It's where God is changing. Let me tell you something, The Church of Jesus Christ is worth the risk of going over the falls in the impact zone. And so if your ego has been bruised, if you've been hurt, if bad things have happened, let me tell you something, paddle back out. The revelation alone is worth the risk. It's worth any bad thing. Paddle back out and be the change you want to see in the Church. And lead the change you want to see in the Church with your example, with your integrity, with your prayers. We need you. When you're in the channel seeing just your little piece of God, that all you have, and we don't get to have it.

We desperately need the piece of God that He's shown to you. And I desperately want to give you the peace He's shown to me. And so we all together can see that power. That's really the essence of my message. I could shut it down right here. I think we've had enough of a time together. But there's a couple more things in the passage that He mentions that are worth noticing, and the first is protection. We don't just get revelation. There's protection in it. Because there's landmines in this world, aren't there? Yeah. Oh, you think you're safe in the channel? You're not safe in the channel. There's rip currents to take you out to sea before you know what's even happening. And all of a sudden, you're trying to paddle back, and you're halfway to Honolulu. It is a dangerous thing in this world. And so I'm not going to be in the Church. The Church is full of hypocrites.

And so you're out there in the world. What happens? Well, Peter says there's lust warring against your soul. So wow, a real tickle the back of my throat. I don't know if you can tell that's happening, but it's horrible. I'm going to get a drink of water. I thought I could preach right through it. Usually I can power on, it goes away. But it just got worse. So, I think that did it. All right. So he said there's lust warring against your soul. I like how The Message translation puts it. He says, "Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul".

So we abstain from the church, thinking we know better, we can do better. But we're susceptible outside of the protection of community as well. Because when we are lone rangers doing our solitary island thing, what we don't have is the beauty of accountability. What we don't have is the necessity of difficult conversations. And a lot of you have, at various points in your life, resisted community. Maybe some of you watching on the podcast, you've resisted being a part of the church, because of a difficult conversation. Because someone, in love, spoke to you things that you didn't want to hear, but you needed to hear, and so you resisted by taking your ball and going home.

And really, you have a rebellious spirit within you that doesn't want to submit to authority. That's only going to hold you back in every area: in work, in ministry, in your family, if you don't come under that authority, if you can't humble yourself. Pride only causes God to oppose you. Grace always comes to those who have a humble heart. And you have to have a humble heart willing to hear difficult things, willing to hear and receive the correction that comes from people in your life who you've put into place to tie you to the mast and to keep you from hearing the siren song of this world. People who have beeswax in their ear, to use Homer's language, and they're not in the fray at your job. They're not in the fray in your marriage. They're not in the fray in your parenting dynamic.

So they actually can speak into it and say objectively to you, you're not living like heaven's you're home. You're living here like this world is all that matters. You're living carnally. You're being rude. You're being belligerent. You're being an ogre. You're being mean. And so you can at that point puff up, bow up, and say, I don't have to hear this. And you know what? You can go onto your next three churches you'll leave, and you'll go onto your next three jobs where the boss is a jerk. You'll go on of your next three marriages, where it's always their fault. Or you can yield. You can humble yourself. You can receive correction. You can let God fix the parts in your heart that are actually broken, that are actually crooked, and you can begin to live like God is actually the Lord of your life and the Lord of your relationships and receive the benefit of a teachable spirit.

And that protection kicks in when we respond to those in our Fresh Life group who see us. When we don't posture and put up a religious veneer of, everything's good, but we actually say, I'm really having a hard time here. I really feel scared here. Who in your life can you call? Who in your life is going to call you? Who in your life do you know is going to check up you? That's the beauty of leadership. That's the beauty of being on a team where someone says, hey, you're five minutes late. Everyone's here, but you rolled in like you own the place. It's the beauty, you're like, I'm a business owner. But that's the beauty of exhibiting tenderness, of exhibiting teachability, of exhibiting correct, that's why the Bible says, it's not profitable for you to resist those who God's placed over you.

That you don't have that tender heart that wants to hear, that craves people's eyes on your life. Because let me just tell you something. The parts of this world that are the most dangerous to you are also invisible to you. That's the nature of self-deception. We're blind to our own blind spots. We need coverage. We need to embrace and bear down on, and even if they suck, difficult conversations that come within the house. That's what it means to be a part of a family, is to embrace difficult conversations. So protection, is this all right? Is this helping anybody? Yes. Yeah.

All right. There's a third. The third is mission. We have revelation, protection, we stay on track with mission. We're constantly spurred on, to use our language from our text last week, spurred on towards mission. In fact, Peter puts it this way. This is The Passion Translation. This is Verse 12. "Live honorable lives as you mix with unbelievers".

Now, we can stop right there and I could ask you this question. Does anybody come to your mind? And if you're like, nope. I am only surrounded by Christians. You're doing it wrong. Yeah. You're doing it wrong. You are. It's so easy. The longer you're in it, to make the Church into a pseudo-heaven, where you're only ever surrounded by Christians. You're only ever eating dinner and mixing with people who are like you. You need to keep mixing with unbelievers. And as you do, live an honorable life in the workplace. The goal isn't for us to pretend we're already in heaven. The goal is for us to reach other people so they can go to heaven. Yes. That's right. Mix with unbelievers, dinner with unbelievers. Love and fellowship and all of that happening within the Church so that we can encourage each other to mix with unbelievers.

Listen, "Even though they accuse you of being evildoers". That'll happen. "For they will see your beautiful works and have a reason to glorify God in the day he visits us". It's the ability to live beautifully and graciously, even when we're being accused vehemently. And to do so in a way that can cause people over time to be worn down and see there's something about the way you live that I like, even if in this season, I've been adversarial against you. And we get to keep encouraging each other on towards mission, on towards mission, listen. You and I are to live our entire lives as a mission for Jesus. That's what it means to live with Jesus as your King. It's not, oh, I go to church on Sunday sometimes, right?

Do you view your workplace, do you view everything in your life, every part of leisure, as I'm living as a mission for King Jesus? And I have a unique assignment that I'm going to answer how I did when I stand before Him to be judged. That's the beauty of church. We live out there in the world. It's intoxicating and everything. You start to hear the song. But then we come back in here. It's like, no. Mission for Jesus. That's the beauty of our gatherings. Let's go back out there and live on mission for King Jesus.

And then fourth and finally, there's transformation that happens. What does that transformation look like? Well, it looks like to the end that one day you wake up and you look at yourself and you go, oh, my gosh. I'm a chosen generation. I'm a royal priesthood. I'm a holy nation. I'm His own special people. When did that even happen? While you were living as mission. While were availing yourself to protection. While we were constantly being changed by the glory of the revelation. We look up one day and we're watching things in our life change. We're watching things in our lives transform. And that kind of transformation cannot happen in isolation.

What am I trying to get you to see? I'm trying to get you to see that you can't become yourself by yourself. The version of yourself that you're meant to be, the version of yourself that God knows that you can be, the version of yourself deep down inside that He wants to call out: the king inside the boy, the queen inside the girl, the warrior inside the fool. I'm telling you, you can't get to that version of you by yourself. It takes all of us to rub up against each other. That's the beauty of the impact zone. Yeah, I know. It's sometimes really horrible. You go over the falls. You get betrayed. You get let down. I let you down. I've done it, probably. And we're going to do it to each other. But part of that grinding is the chance for transformation. Part of that is what the Bible describes as "iron sharpens iron," which looks so great on a shirt, but feels so horrible when it's happening. Right?

Oh, I love iron sharpening iron. Yeah. That feels scrape-y and stuff. But that's how we're transformed. That's how we become like Jesus. And we need each other to get there. One of the definitions for the word "home," which the Church should feel like to you, is "a place where something flourishes". Home, "a place where something flourishes". That's what David had in mind when he said, "Those who are planted in the house of the Lord will flourish in the courts of our God". When we actually treat this as home, live planted in the house of God as our home, we put down deep roots in the house of God as our home, we look up one day and we've been transformed by each other, by the Spirit, by God working in us.

So let's live here, planted here, and let's see God do great things from here. Jesus's name? Yes. Yeah. Amen. I want to end with two stories, and these two stories have a consistent theme. And the theme is sacrifice, and the theme is home. The first story comes from Luke, Chapter 15, and it's one of the most famous stories in the Bible. The story the prodigal son who went out to this world looking for the things of the world to satisfy the ache inside of his soul. And you know that story, because we've lived it and we've seen it 1,000 times. And the drugs didn't satisfy, and the prostitutes didn't satisfy, and the parties didn't satisfy, and the money didn't satisfy, and there came a day when he was bankrupt on the inside and on the outside.

Penniless, friendless, destitute, and forlorn, the Bible says he made the decision to go home. And the Bible says, in that moment he came to himself. Coming to his father's home was coming to himself. Why? Because when you're alienated from God, you're always alienated from you. And you will never be the kind of version of you you're meant to become apart from God's house, even with the older brother jeering, even with the family dynamics. I love that even in that story, he doesn't put rose-colored glasses. Here's the greatest rescue story ever in history.

And there's an older brother going, he doesn't deserve it. It's like, what? It's home. Yeah. So why would we think our church dynamic would be any different? Right. Yeah, the older brother pops up again. We've got to play whack-a-mole with that religious spirit every day. Welcome to pastoral ministry. So that pops up all the time. But that doesn't mean we don't go home. That doesn't mean it's not worth home. That doesn't mean it's not worth the idea of home. If we want to come to ourselves, we've got to come home.

That's what the prodigal son teaches us. But I also want to honor a legend of surfing. Who, if he was alive this weekend, would be 73 years old, and that's Eddie Aikau. Eddie Aikau, a prolific surfer from Hawaii, born in Maui, but really made a name for himself surfing on Oahu's North Shore. And he was the first lifeguard of Waimea Bay. The first lifeguard ever hired to save lives at Waimea Bay. And let me show you a photo. This is from the Eddie Aikau Invitational Surfing Contest that happens at Waimea Bay every year. That's a 30-some-foot tall face of a wave that they measure from the back. From the front, it's actually more like 60, it can get to. Breaking in water at times that can pulverize people, break their backs. People drown in there all the time.

First lifeguard, he paddled out into that wave and saved 500 lives in his life. He would be alive today at 73, had he not died in a re-creation of a canoeing expedition to Tahiti, where they were trying to do the Moana thing and go back to the islands that they had island hopped on originally. He was participating in that and sadly, lost his life trying to save the lives of those who were taking on water. So he jumped on a surfboard to go to help, trying to get to Lanai, and was never found by rescuers. But this spirit and this idea of Eddie's sacrificial life he lived, inspired in the surfing culture of Hawaii, and really spread everywhere to these shirts that you see you'll see sometimes in places like Panama City Beach or Newport Beach or Malibu, or even all over the world, "Eddie would go".

You might see that. "Eddie would go". You could buy a Quicksilver shirt. "Eddie would go". And it's become this idea of dropping on that sick, gnar wave, brah. Right? This lifestyle of risk. Like, take that wave. Eddie would go. But what it actually meant when it began was, save somebody else, even if it hurts you. That's the spirit of Eddie Aikau. It's, no matter what it costs you, if someone's in danger, put yourself in danger to be willing to save them out of danger. He did that 500 times at one of the most gnarly waves, vicious breaks in the world. And 500 people lived because of his risk.

And I love that story, "Eddie would go," because I see it in it Jesus. Jesus did go. Jesus looked at this world, sick with sin, in the impact zone of death, and He paddled out to save us. And He died so that we can live. And in His Spirit, we are called to live on mission in this world, fighting so that anybody far from God could be filled with life and Christ. And they would have that chance because of them rubbing shoulders with us, that we would live on mission for our King. Eddie would go. Jesus did go. The question is, will you?
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