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2021 online sermons » Levi Lusko » Levi Lusko - The Secret To A Good Life

Levi Lusko - The Secret To A Good Life


Levi Lusko - The Secret To A Good Life

We are really, really excited about this new collection of messages that we're in. It's actually, to be more accurate, it's one message that's going to take me three weeks to get out. God's been showing me so much I just realized, it's going to take me a whole month basically of preaching to get this message out. So between now and Father's Day we're going to be in a series where we're answering the question, what does a good life look like? What is a good life, right? That's a statement that we've all heard in beer commercials our whole lives. And, really, if you want to understand what your perception of the good life is, all any of us need to do is swap phones or swap computers with you, because you know what we would do if we scrolled on Instagram on your account for half an hour? We'd all be like, whoa. Where's all my ads?

That's weird. Because maybe none of the things that is being shown to you would appeal to me, and vice versa, because I know, this isn't like an anti-technology rant, big brother's listening, turn off Alexa, because it's all freaky message, right? But it really is true that you'll be shown more of whatever you search for. Your YouTube home page probably looks nothing like mine, because we're all being curated, the algorithm tweaks based on whatever we're watching. And so if I were to look in your YouTube or you were to watch my Instagram feed, what we would all be getting to see is basically what the different advertising entities think we think the good life looks like, because that's an ad. An ad is you see a picture, and something inside of you goes, that's the good life. They're trying to tell you, you could have the good life if you had this car. You could have the good life if you went on this trip.

People, smart people, sit in rooms trying to figure out how to show us, how to change our mental model of what a good life looks like, so that when we see it, we'll go, I mean, just honest moment in church, have you ever bought something after you saw an advertisement? Who's ever bought something after, you are l, look, 12 people raised their hand. You've never bought something you saw advertised? OK. I totally believe you. I'm just like, not me man, you can't be right, you can't, you can't get, you can't, I'm not that weak willed, right. Right, we see things and we all have activated the picture we carry around, the vision we carry around of what the good life looks like.

And so we're all moving, spending, acquiring, deciding, traveling, based on anything we can do to get us closer to the image of the picture that we have in our heads of what someone living the good life looks like. And I would go, wow, that's weird they're showing that to you, because that's not what maybe my picture of it looks like. And we're going to be asking this question, what is the secret to a good life? What is, what should our picture be? And hopefully throughout these weeks, some of us will maybe tear up the picture we were holding onto. And God's going to swap it for something better. Micah chapter 6, let me read to you these eight verses. If you have a copy of the scriptures and you haven't found Micah by now, you're probably not going to make it.

It says in verse 1, "Listen to what the Lord says, 'stand up, plead your case before the mountains, let the hills hear what you have to say. Hear, O mountains, the Lord's accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the Lord has a case against his people; he is lodging a charge against Israel. My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me. I brought you up out of Egypt and I redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam. My people, remember what Balak king of Moab counseled and what Balaam son of Beor answered. Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.' With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I offer up my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my own body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God".

Micah, the prophet who wrote this book that is named after him, is known as Micah of Moresheth, Micah of Moresheth. But usually when the word Moresheth is referenced, there's a hyphen and then they put the word Gath, Micah of Moresheth-Gath. When you come across the location, and this is a small little town 20 miles to the southeast of Jerusalem, but nearest in proximity Moresheth was to a city in a different country, called Gath. Now if you've ever come across the word Gath, it's probably because it was the hometown of its most famous resident, who lost an epic battle, a man named Goliath. Goliath, the giant that David killed, was named Goliath of Gath. They were very excited to have had Goliath live there. So he was their champion, Goliath of Gath, Gath, Gath, Goliath's hometown. Everybody was very excited about Goliath until he got killed. And then they were going, we never liked him. We never knew him.

So it's funny that Moresheth, which is where Micah, a prophet who wrote this book, this little seven chapter long book tucked into the prophetic section of the Old Testament, that Moresheth would always be followed with a hyphen and then the word Gath. You come across it as Moresheth-Gath. Why? It's because they were tired of answering the same question, tired of answering the same question. If you, like Micah was, were from Moresheth, and you were at a luncheon or at a meeting or at a cocktail party, and someone was to say to you, where are you from? You would say, I'm from Moresheth. And the next question, you would be watching their mind form the words as you answered your question, was always going to be, where's that?

And so you would say, it's a town 20 miles to the southeast of Jerusalem. It's right next to Gath. And so frequently would you have to say, it's right next to Gath, it's really close to Gath. We live just at the edge of the border, just on the other side of Gath. No one knew where Moresheth was, so you always had to identify it in proximity to this city that belonged to the enemies of God, Moresheth-Gath, that they just eventually adopted it as part of their identity. Where are you from? Moresheth-Gath, it's like being from outside of Pittsburgh, right? Like I'm known by what I'm not inside of. I'm known by what I'm not inside of, I'm near to.

I grew up in Colorado Springs. But I was actually born in Pueblo, Colorado. But if I talk to people who are from Colorado and I go, I'm also from Colorado, they will say where from, and I will say Pueblo. And they will raise their eyebrows, Oh, Pueblo. Oh, Hungry Horse, eh? Right? That was basically the closest equivalent in Colorado. It's like Pueblo, Oh, they lock their car doors, right? It's like, Oh, Pueblo, eh? Hold on to your purse, right? He's from Pueblo, where I could just feel them judging me. So I eventually just started, like, where are you from? Colorado. What part of Colorado? Raised in the Springs. It's not a lie. It's true. It just ignores where I was actually from. That's how it would have felt like to be from Moresheth. To be from Moresheth-Gath was like, what in the world good could come out of here? And how cool is it that God raised up Micah, a man who is a simple person, he was a farmer by trade, to write this prophetic book, that's going to shape our lives for these next few weeks, and hopefully be used to do eternal work in our midst, in our gatherings.

And I love that he was such a profound individual, that his primary impact was on kings, kings like King Hezekiah, one of the most noteworthy kings in all of Israel's history. And Hezekiah was on the throne during a time when an amazing, amazing miracle took place, and 185,000 Assyrian soldiers were stopped, miraculously, in their tracks, by angels, from completely devouring God's people on the battlefield. But it never would have happened, according to Jeremiah the prophet, had it not been for Micah of Moresheth, in parentheses, it's 20 miles outside of Jerusalem, next to Gath. In fact, Jeremiah puts it this way. Let's look at Jeremiah 26:18. I'm only helping you with this because you always hear about Isaiah and you always hear about Jeremiah and you've probably heard about Daniel. But Micah and the rest of his minor prophets are the ones who are like, Yeah, what are those little things we're passing on the way to try and find Jonah, because that's the only prophet we actually know what to do with, because his involved a whale, right?

It says in Jeremiah 26:18, "Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah, 'this is what the Lord almighty says, "Zion will be plowed like a field. Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound of ground overgrown with thickets"'". Then verse 19 says, "Did Hezekiah king of Judah or anyone else in Judah put him to death? Did not Hezekiah fear the Lord and seek his favor? And did not the Lord relent, so that he did not bring the disaster he had pronounced against them"? The point is, it was Micah's voice who, Hosea wasn't listened to, Amos wasn't listened to, many of the prophets. Jesus said, which of the prophets did you not ignore, to the children of Israel. But Micah of Moresheth is one man who, out of all the rest of them, we see God using his ministry, and there's tangible results. And for 100 years, the Old Testament time of the Babylonian captivity was delayed by a century, because of the difference this man made.

My point is, before we even get into the sermon any further, just to tell you not to ever allow the scope of God's vision for your life to be determined by the smallness of your situation. He's from Moresheth-Gath. And all of us can relate on some level or another. We look at something in our lives as a Moresheth type of a situation. And so we're tempted to not give what we have to God, to not raise our hand and say, I'm willing to serve, to not say, put me in, coach, I'm ready, because we oftentimes despise the small places in our lives. We despise the lack of a gift. We despise the lack of a resource. We despise the connections that we don't have that other people have. But God has never been looking for great ability. He's always looking for availability. And if you give God your Moresheth-Gaths, if you give God your area of your life where you think he couldn't possibly use, he will fill it with his Spirit, fill it with his power and you will watch him do things that will change the world for more than 100 years. I'm just encouraging you to believe that you can be a Micah too.

So Micah's this guy who is raised up by God to speak to issues, like all the prophets, to call things out, to speak God's word to situations going on, and to speak in a way that would call people to turn their attention to God. And he was living in a time of major corruption. There was financial corruption. There was religious corruption. People were violent, and there was sexual perversion happening in the nation. And yet they were all doing so with this like veneer of it's OK, God probably won't really mind, because we still are going to church sometimes. That was sort of how they felt. Like it doesn't really matter how we live. As long as we just give lip service to God and say that we're his people, we're going to be totally spared. It's a message disconnected from our day. But Micah, in his day, was trying to call people out to what God really wanted the good life to look like in their minds, in their mental model of what we're striving for, what the goal of life should be, to give them a different vision. And he was helping them to see that they, and I think you'll agree, that we need to open our eyes to see that we have fallen for temptation, fallen for temptation. And the temptation, when it comes to what the good life looks like and doesn't look like, is this.

We need to know that you can't get better than good. You can't actually get better than good. That was the problem. They had fallen for the temptation that comes at us, too. And that is that there's something out there that's better than good. Why do we think this way? Well, maybe, and it's just a sneak peek of how we think and how this shows up in our lives, we've bought into the lie of one of the best selling business books of all times. A fabulous book that I highly recommend if you own a business, you should read. This is good. It's called Good to Great, Good to Great. And the reason I say it's a great book is because the idea here is that we should all strive for our companies to be better, our leadership to be better. God does want there to be improvement. But the title of the book also speaks to something sinister in our hearts, that what we've been handed by God that he calls good, is maybe, just maybe, not all that there is. Maybe there's something better than what God has given to us.

In the book, Jim Collins says, "Good is the enemy of great". But that's not the first time this idea showed up. In fact 100 years before Jim Collins came on the scene, John D. Rockefeller had said, "Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great". Now don't get me wrong. Again, they're writing this to say improvement, improvement, improvement. That's fantastic. We shouldn't settle for mediocrity. I believe God is honored by things improving. But now take that idea and apply it to when God has given us something, is that here's something that's good for us to have that thing in our hands, but think, there's maybe, just maybe something better than good. Maybe the good is the enemy of the great. Maybe I should let go of what he gave me that was good and strive for something different. And if I get something different, then I'll get that good life because I'll have something that's great. The first blessing and compliment God ever paid, remember, was to call something that he had just made good. To call what he had made good, you see this again and again and again in the book of Genesis.

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, darkness over the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light,' there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated it from darkness". Awesome. Verse 10, "God called the dry ground 'land,' and gathered the water into seas. And God saw that it was good". And this goes on. And again and again and again, God will make something, declare it good. He'll make something, declare it good, he'll make something, declare it good. And in that state it was good, because the definition of the Hebrew word tov or tob, which is used 32 times in the Old Testament, is full of prosperity, it's unstained, it's pleasant. It's beautiful. It's agreeable, and here's the kicker. It's the best. When God makes something good, it can't become great, because good is best. So what God has made and given, what God wants for us, is the best. That's what he means when he says good.

So to give up the best in exchange for something that's great is, by definition, to experience a downgrade. And what we're going to get is going to be worse than what we already had. And that is exactly how things play out in the book of Genesis, aren't they? So Adam and Eve are walking around in a good world. They're experiencing a good relationship with God. Their marriage? Hey, naked and unashamed, sounds good, right? And so everything about life is perfect. And the enemy shows up, and he makes them think there's something better. He makes them think, oh, that iPhone, it sucks. There's a new one that's got a retina display. Well, this iPhone's pretty good, right? And that's where we're living. And that's why they market, by the way, that's why there are different colors of cars. When the first car came out, they were all black. All the Model Ts were black. And they realized people had no incentive to buy another one. So colored cars, they came up with this idea, which at the exact same time, nail polish came out, because the breakthrough in different colored cars also came with the ability to sell you different colored nails. And now they could say, Oh, are you the red one? Phht. Peasant. Right? You need the gray one.

That's why there are always new cars, new washing machine. That's the whole thing. You don't have, what you have isn't good anymore. What you have isn't enough. Maybe you aren't enough. So the devil shows up and he says, why can't you eat that tree over there? Now every tree on the earth they were allowed to eat out of. There was one tree that God said don't. But he wanted them to focus on the only thing they couldn't do, instead of all the different things they could do. And doesn't the enemy still play that game today? He will try and get you to focus on what you don't have, on what you can't do. He will try and get you to focus on what everybody else has and what everyone else can do, instead of the only thing you can't is where he wants you to live. And so he says, what you have isn't good. They should have said, God already called it good. I'm prospering. It's pleasant. It's agreeable. We are naked and not ashamed. And PS, different thing, different sermon, PS, we don't take fruits from strangers around here, all right?

We don't, sorry, we don't do that. But instead, they let the enemy get into their minds. And soon they gave up what was good for what was supposedly going to be great, the knowledge of good and evil. Oh, they got some knowledge of good and evil, all right, as evil came into their world and flooded and ruined what was originally good. The day you eat of it, you shall surely die. A death sentence. Why is there death in the world? We can look back to that moment. It's sin, which we can define as leaving what is good, so we can go out into the world and get something that's great. That's the temptation. So what do we do? When we have this dilemma. Now we're dead people. We're the dead people walking. What do we do?

Well, oftentimes we turn to religion to try and fix it. I need to fix this. What am I going to do? I'm going to put fig leaves on. I'm going to make a tower that's top is in the sky. I'm going to do, and Micah, who's bringing this like a lawyer, as he's crafting, which is so funny, because he's a farmer, but he writes like a lawyer, and he's crafting this. He's saying, O hills, listen, I call you as witnesses against you, as I bring this case against the children of Israel, who are doing all these things, all these sinful things, all these things that they thought were going to make them great, but actually just cause them to lose what was good all along. And so as he makes this case, he says all this that they have been doing. And he knows that they're going to object that they're religious. So what does he do? He presents a fictitious hypothetical objection on their behalf, because he's brilliant. And he's able to already check off the boxes that he knows they're going to resort to, which is A, that they're going to rush to religion to get their way out of this, which is why he presents this fictitious person saying, well, maybe we just need to give more to God. Maybe we just need to show up for church a little bit more.

So he takes it to the furthest, most ridiculous extent, and he goes, what if instead of just giving cows for your sacrifice, because back then there were sacrifices involved, right? And he says, what if you instead only give one-year-old calves, and ooh, those are really expensive, tender meat, right? What if instead of like porterhouses you only give filet mignons to God? Would he be happy then that you're super gnarly and corrupt and just living a life full of wickedness, but still showing up at church thinking that's going to make it all better, and that you still read the Bible every once in a while and you have a super awesome bumper sticker on your car, while you live a terrible life? Like do you think that's super cool? And he has them saying like, so he goes, well, let's just, let's say if we're going to play that game, what if you didn't just give oil. What if you gave rivers of oil?

And everyone reading this was like, Oh, crap, that was my plan, man. My plan was just like to cover up like my evil life with like a religious heart. They wouldn't put it that way, but that was what they were thinking. Would God be happy then? And he goes, well, if we're going to play that game what if you gave thousands upon thousands of rams? And then, and then, he goes to the highest level and plays this card. He goes, what if you even gave your firstborn son? What if you gave your firstborn child? Would that, because that was the thing back then in the world. People actually practiced, in different parts of that world, child sacrifice. Like that will really appease God and make sure we get great farming. Like he goes, will that make, and of course, as Micah's saying all this, he's trying to show how ridiculous the prospect is, that by disobeying God we bring about a death that he never wanted us to experience, but that somehow religion, or our achievement, is going to fix the situation. It's as pathetic as Adam and Eve's plan of covering up their nakedness with these fig leaves.

The point is, ladies and gentlemen, you can't spend your way out of debt. That's what Micah's saying here. You have a debt. The debt came from sin. And the debt is death. And no amount of spending in God's sight is going to make the situation better. What a horrible thing it is to be in a situation where you realize you're powerless to pay. Especially when you have resource, right? There's two really awkward things that happen to me pretty regularly in purchasing situations. The first and just always, I hate it when it happens, is when you, have you ever done this? ,where you mistake someone in a store who's a customer but you think they work there, and how awkward that moment is? Like, hey, can I get this in a medium, and they're like, Oh, I don't work here. Like how quick they are to be like, Oh, no, I don't work here. I'm a shopper just like you are, right? And, oh, I'm so sorry, you're just wearing black and everyone in the store is also wearing black, my bad. And like that moment's so weird.

But the other one is when you go to buy something and they tell you the two most horrendous words in our whole language, cash only. I don't get it. I just don't understand it. It doesn't make any sense to me, right? I would rather carry around a pocket full of beads. And it just doesn't make any sense to me that we are still at a place with square readers and little things that anybody on God's green earth would still be sending me to spend $3.50 at an ATM machine. Can we just agree, it's 2021, stop it, OK? Cash only pretty much needs to die. And here's the children of Israel. They've got thousands of rivers of oil, hypothetically. They've got all their firstborn son. They've got all these, and God's like, no, no, no. It's not cash only, it's righteousness only. Righteousness only, a lot of us had this mental model of if I can just do enough good religious things then God's going to be pleased with me.

But Romans 3 says, "As it is written, there is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they've all become worthless. There's no one who does good, not even one". Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God". So, of course, Micah, who is in the head of his listener, knows, well, the next thing that people are going to think is, well, then I have to just actually clean up my life. I can't have a dirty life with just religion covering it up. So instead I'm actually going to try and do some good things. And so he knows that, from religion, the next thing that all of us go to is the good person thing. Well, I just have to actually just be a good person, then. And a lot of people will forget religion then, because so many people are hypocrites, and they just use religion to cover up the fact that they're just jerks.

And so I'm actually going to just forgo religion and just focus on being a good person, which is why Micah 6:8 is one of the most misused verses in the Bible, where it's just quoted as some sort of a here's what we actually should be doing, doing mercy and loving justice and walking humbly. And I switched the first two things. It's doing justice and loving mercy and walking humbly, those three things, if we can just do that. Let's just fight injustice. And let's just make sure that we're being compassionate. And let's just make sure that we're loving each other. And that's what the Bible actually says, what does the Lord require of you, do justly, love mercy, walk humbly. But that's exactly the opposite of what Micah was trying to achieve here, because he's building this argument of how messed up all of us are. And he first knocks out the stool, the leg of the stool we lean on, which is just being religious. And what he's actually trying to do is knock out this other leg that's just be a good person and that should be enough for God at the end of the day, because what he's trying to say is, well, if you're broken, what does God require of you? Well, just do justice and love mercy and walk humbly. Oh, OK. Except that none of us have done that. And, try as we might, none of us are capable of actually doing that.

There was a man who came to Jesus who had spent his entire life trying to be a good person. And he said, teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said, what do you think? And he said, well, I should probably love God with all my heart and love every person, my neighbor, like I love me. And Jesus, in hearing him summarize the sweeping statements of the Old Testament so well, said, perfect. Do that and you'll be fine. You see the point I'm making? A man who had tried his entire life to be a good person says, well, we should all just try and be good people, and Jesus said, awesome. If you're capable of doing that, do it and you'll be fine, insinuating you're not a good person. You haven't achieved what you've sought to do. You are incapable of being a good person all the time. Why? Because we're all sinners. And we've all sinned and none of us have been a perfect neighbor all the time. None of us have sought justice and loved mercy, and walked humbly perfectly, and none of us will.

So if this week, if this message is, all right, guys, just do justice, and you, you tackle the mercy this week, and I'll walk humbly, we're going to walk out of here and I won't make it till Tuesday. Like I don't know if you guys might get Thursday or some of you got Friday. This afternoon, I might not love justice. I don't know about, like there are moments in our lives, we're like, oh, and if our plan is the good person plan, or if our plan is the religion plan, Micah gathered the mountains to listen. He's like, hey, hey, get over here, mountains, and listen to these people who think they're going to bribe God and think that they've got enough resources to pay God off. And the mountains are like, hah, right? Oh, it's a good one, Micah of Moresheth half in Gath, right, right? Very, very, very good. That's as though a man could bribe God. Oh, hey, hills, hey, hills, listen. These people think they're going to be good. Oh, the hills are alive with the sound of laughter, right? Good? Just be good?

Just be good, listen, write this down. This is so important. You can't earn your way back from the dead. Sin is not a goodness problem. Sin is a deadness problem. Because the wages of sin isn't badness. The wages of sin is death. That's what God said. The day you eat of it, you shall surely die. So deadness crept into our souls, and our bodies. And if our bodies die, with our souls still dead, that is to remain dead forever. And that is what the Bible teaches as the idea of hell. It's remaining perpetually dead and disconnected from God, whom to know is to know goodness, whom to walk with is to experience the goodness of life. And so Micah is not bringing us a lot of good news here. But what I've discovered is that you can't discover or experience the power of good news until you understand the reality of bad news. And so while he presents the problem, he more than is aware of the way our hearts would sink, thinking about all of this. You can't spend your way out of debt. You can't earn your way back to life.

So what do we have? We have the inescapable reality that you can't have a good life without a good shepherd. That's the only way. It's not religion. It's not a good person. The problem of this temptation that we've all given into is that we need substitution. And substitution is what happens when a teacher is sick and they cannot show up to teach their class. Someone else, who that is their job, steps in and is a substitute. Why am I here, class? I'm here because your teacher couldn't. So I am here on their behalf. And a substitute is the only way that we can experience the good life. And what we're going to experience in these weeks is to discover the power and the joy, and what our lives can look like if we have a good shepherd. And that's what Micah presents as the solution to the problem, a substitute. If death is the problem, guess what?

John chapter 10, verse 11 says, "the good shepherd lays his life down for the sheep". He was willing to die for you. That's what the cross is all about. That's the big deal with the death of Jesus. That's why the idea, well, can't we just try and love God and experience the power of beauty in creation? Well, no, because the Bible says you're dead on the inside. So someone had to die or God's not just. And so that death was what he paid for, so that you could be reconnected with him, and go back from your twisted, my twisted version of great, back to his original plan for good. The simple beauty of walking with God, of experiencing that prosperity, of knowing that pleasant, agreeable quality of everything's as it was designed to be, as he originally intended it to be. The point is, and where I'm trying to get you to look at it differently, is that goodness, in this paradigm, becomes an end not the means. Goodness becomes an end not the means. It's an outcome, and not your marching orders. It's the result and not the recipe.

So to think that our religious accomplishments, or our being just a good person, and being a good human to our fellow man, that that somehow covers up any deficiency inside of us, that's putting goodness as the means. If I do this, I get to that. But God as the substitute steps in and says, I'm willing to die for you. I'm the good shepherd and I'm willing to die for you and pay everything that was owed for your transgression. Then, following him, believing in him, doing nothing in this equation, which is why people don't like it, because we don't get to feel like we accomplished anything. We don't get to feel a sense of pride in it. All we get is the humiliation of saying, I have a problem I can't solve, will you do something, which is the perfect place to be, which is walking humbly with the Lord. And when you're experiencing that, goodness then doesn't become a means, it's the end. Or it's the outcome of you following your good shepherd. Or as the good shepherd puts it, as we follow Him or, as the good sheep put it, "surely goodness and mercy will" what? Follow me. Outcome.

It's not what I'm trying to do to get to something great. It's following someone great and something great following me. Goodness becomes the wake that the ship of your life leaves as you let the good shepherd lead. And so what we're going to discuss in the next two weeks is doing justice and loving mercy and walking humbly, as a part of the wake that comes out of our life as we follow the one who's the good shepherd. Because Micah of Moresheth-Gath is not the only person to have been born from a small town to come up in the book of Micah. In fact, one of the most famous verses in the entirety of the book of Micah, one that you have heard before, I guarantee. You probably didn't even know you know a verse from the book of Micah besides 6:8. And it's this, Micah 4, verse 2, "But you," he prophesied, "Bethlehem Ephrathah," because Micah's message can be summarized in two words, the gloom and the glory.

The gloom is man's problem, the glory is what God does about it. And the glory of Micah, that he points us to in the midst of our gloom is, "But you, Bethlehem," prophesying over this tiny little hamlet outside of the city of Jerusalem, once again, "though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will rule over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times". Who is this one who will be born in Pueblo, in Bethlehem, sorry. Who is this one who is born in this tiny little city, that, well, "He," verse 4, "will stand and shepherd the flock of the Lord in the strength of God, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. They will live securely, for his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth". And notice this, "He will be their peace. When the Assyrians invade our land and march through our fortresses, he will raise," You see the point is, Micah's trying to say, don't try and just flex your own power and be good enough and do that. That's not the image. All that leads to is heartache and disaster. But follow the good shepherd and you watch as these beautiful things flow out of you.

I want to end our time together by talking about a light bulb, because I believe as we follow the good shepherd, one of the things we're going to experience is his light to see life with, his light to see a vision of a good life that looks different than the one that's being advertised to you, because the end of that is a life of regret. The end of chasing more, the end of chasing stuff, the end of chasing significance through accomplishments, that is a deathbed with regret looking back. But you deny yourself, take up your cross, you follow Jesus, you in losing your life will find it. And a life spent following the good shepherd, you will get to the end of your life and you will look back and regret nothing. There's a light bulb in Livermore, California, looks a little bit like this. This is how I screenshotted it at this morning. You can see on the bottom it's dated early, early this morning. And from all the tabs in my Safari browser you can see inside the mind of a crazy person. But this is a live screenshot, a screenshot of a live webcam that updates every 30 seconds.

And like why on earth would a dedicated webcam run on a random, I mean it's cool in a vibe-y sort of way, this incandescent, like old school light bulb, like, Oh, they didn't know about LED, right, but there's, day and night, people go in to see this light bulb. The reason is that this light bulb has been continuously burning since 1901. Guinness and Ripley's have certified it as the longest burning light bulb in the history of the world. And it sits in a firehouse. It literally, it's stewarded over, protected by firefighters. They have a big plan of how it's going to be laid to rest when it finally flickers out. But the story behind it is even more compelling than the reality of it. The story goes like this. The light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison in 1879.

Now, I realize, everything with Edison is hotly contested, because there's all this pirate-y type stuff, and, you know, Tesla, and who really had the idea first. And this guy seems like he was sort of a cutthroat dude. But he, OK, look we got, he came up with the most commercially viable version of the light bulb by 1879, the incandescent light bulb. And the issue was the filament. And within 21 years, by 1901, obviously, the technology progressed so quickly because so many people rushed to sell and come up with their own versions of the light bulb. And pretty soon they're being sold all around the world. And the goal, once one was made, was to figure how to make them burn longer, longer, longer. How do we make a better light bulb? How do we make a better light bulb? How do we make a better light bulb? By 1901, they had figured out pretty well how to make a light bulb that they knew could last for a million hours. In 2015, that light bulb from Livermore crossed the 1 million hour mark of burning.

So the technology factor was there. In fact, the biggest problem the light bulb manufacturers around the world had was light bulbs were a little too good. They were so good that everyone's going to have a light bulb for every socket and never buy another light bulb again. Now the bottom line was an issue. And so a meeting was convened in 1924 in the city of Geneva, Switzerland. And the heads of every major light bulb manufacturer on earth were in attendance. And they came together and they said, we all need to agree to make an inferior light bulb. The only question on the table today is, will we all agree to use the exact same socket so it all fits into the same screw socket, and how many hours should we build it to where it's a ticking time bomb and it burns out at a certain point? And as a result of that meeting, the number was arrived at of 1,000 hours, which is why you have seen your whole life light bulbs that say 1,000 hours, as though that's some sort of a big mark of achievement.

Wow, we have light bulbs that can last 1,000 hours, when in 1901 they had figured out how to make them last a million hours. The only reason they started fizzling out at 1,000 hours was because this group, or as they became known as, the Phoebus Cartel, invented something called planned obsolescence, where what we make is going to have a self-destruct in it. Otherwise no one's ever going to buy another one. And it's happened in washing machines and vehicles. How many of you have found something magically stops working right as the warranty expires? Welcome to the world of planned obsolescence. And so the light bulb burns on in Livermore, California, a bulb that has been burning bright for more than a million hours, a light that is burning bright for more than 120 years, because, ladies and gentlemen, we don't need to run around chasing things that are great and greater and greatest. We've been given something that is good. And that good thing is only offered by the nail-scarred hands of Jesus Christ. He invites you to live a life that is good.

And so, Father, we trust that you who do all things well, you want us to experience a life full of abundance of milk and honey. So interesting that milk and honey are just about the only two things that a human can eat that don't involve death. Plants have to die before we eat them. Animals have to die before we eat them. But milk and honey, we can be sustained on things that nothing dies as we eat it. Thank you that you're calling us to a life where nothing has to die because someone already did, and his name is Jesus. Thank you, God, that we don't need to give our firstborn son or firstborn daughter. You already did that. You gave your child for us, so that we can experience a life where there's no longer death but a life of abundance. Thank you for offering us something that is good. And I pray the enemy would never successfully get us to trade for what you already died for us to have, that's so much better than anything else out there that's so-called great.


If as we're praying, if some part of this message has touched your heart, and you would just want to respond to God and just acknowledge what he's speaking to you personally, secretly, individually, can I ask if you would just let him know that by raising up a hand. All across our church, you're saying, Jesus, I hear you. I'm listening. I'm your child, I love you. I want the milk and honey that you offer me. I want your abundance. I want that prosperity. Sometimes the improvement's not better than the original. And we want you, Jesus. You could put your hands down. I want to give a moment in time for anybody who's here and you've never yet said yes, giving your life to Jesus. You've never invited him to be your Lord and Savior. He's not your good shepherd today.

Everyone has a shepherd. Something leads and guides them. Everyone has some vision of the good life they're chasing. But if you would today want to invite Jesus to be a part of your story, to follow Him as a part of his flock, I want to give you space to make that decision. What does it take? It doesn't take thousands of rivers of oil. Doesn't take rams. Doesn't take one-year-old calves, or you being a good person. It takes you admitting that you haven't been, but that he is enough for you, that he did it all, gladly. He wasn't kicking and screaming. It was for the joy that was set before him that he endured the cross, despising its shame, because you were on his mind. Your sin was so bad that Jesus had to die. But you were so loved that he was glad to die. That's the gospel. That's our hope. That's what we can stand on. And I invite you to confess that, to believe that, and to let that spark a flame of revival inside of your soul, as he brings you from death to life, out of your sins and trespasses, out of the casket of your selfishness, and into a life of abundance and joy, and willing sacrifice, as you watch goodness and mercy stream out of the wake of your soul, of your life.

With heads bowed and eyes closed, if you're ready to say yes to Jesus, church online, every location from Portland, Oregon to Helena, Montana, to Billings and Salt Lake City, and everywhere around the world as this message is heard, from a Kalispell, as you and your sense of humor take small things but use them to do great things. And we tremble at the reality that this is being broadcast out to countries all around the world. But we believe Jesus is speaking to individuals through it. Say this prayer with me, out loud, but believe it in your heart. And I believe that you will experience what the Bible calls being born again. Church family, pray it with us, for the support of those making this decision, remembering there was a day when you made this decision. What a joy it is to watch a couple say their wedding vows. That's what it's like every time we get to pray along with people making this decision. It stirs up our love again. It stirs up our affection again.

Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner. I can't fix myself. I'm not a good person, but you're a good shepherd and you gave your life for me and rose from the dead. At this moment I turn from my sins. I turn to you in faith. Please come into my heart. Fill it with your life. Thank you, in Jesus' name.

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