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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Mark Batterson » Mark Batterson - Living Inside Out

Mark Batterson - Living Inside Out

Mark Batterson - Living Inside Out

On good Friday, 1963, Doctor Martin Luther king was arrested for protesting without a permit. When he was criticized by white clergy for his timing, for his tactics, Doctor King responded with an open letter that was written on pieces of toilet paper and the margin of newspapers. In that letter from a Birmingham jail, Doctor King said this, "There was a time when the church was very powerful in the time when the early Christians rejoiced that being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days, the church was not merely a thermometer, a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion. It was a thermostat, a thermostat that transformed the mores of society".

Question, are you a thermometer or are you a thermostat? Are you living outside in or are you living inside out? Are you being conformed to the world around you? Or are you being transformed by the Spirit of God at work within you? Are you reflecting the attitudes and opinions around you? Or are you shifting the atmosphere with faith, hope, and love? Almost every night Lora and I asked each other a question and I realized that when I set it up that way you're expecting something super profound. So I don't want you to be let down. It's a very practical question. And the question is this, "Did you change the temperature"? It's not a profound question? Oh, but it's a critical question if you wanna get a good night's sleep. I am I in the right room? Are you a thermometer that is reflecting room temperature, or are you a thermostat that is changing the temperature around you? That is shifting the atmosphere around you?

Welcome to National Community Church. We are in a series called, "Joy". We could all use a little bit of more of that up in here. Yes! we are walking through the book of Philippians verse by verse. And I wanna pick up where we left off last week. If you missed last week, Pastor Rob passed amazing messages, you're gonna wanna go back and watch those. We'll on-ramp with Philippians 1:19. "I know that through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, my distress will turn out for my deliverance". I want you to say that last sentence out loud. My distress will turn out for my deliverance. Two key catalyst when it comes to deliverance. One, is the prayer of God's people, and two is the provision of God's Spirit. Paul says, "Through your prayers".

Some of you are here in person, online, and it's an answer to someone's prayer. A praying parent, a praying grandparent, a praying friend. You are finding your way back to God. You are coming back to Christ. And whether you know it or not, someone has been kneeling and praying for this day. You, my friend are an answer to someone else's prayer. Praise God. Last week after one of our gatherings, a woman came out to me, started crying before she could get a single word out. It was less than a year ago that her husband walked away from God, walked away from their marriage. She picked up a copy of "The Circle Maker" and she said, "I just, I prayed a bold prayer".

And I want you to listen to this. She didn't that her husband would find his way back to God. She didn't pray that their marriage would be restored. I kinda liked this. She prayed that they would go on a mission trip together. Like that's next level, right? Less than 11 months later, they enrolled in DTS Discipleship Training School with YWAM, Youth With a Mission. Now I know that not every story ends that way. I know that. Why, why? Because God has given us something called free will. I can't make decisions for you and you can't make decisions for me, but please hear me. You can't make someone else's choice for them, but you can't let that keep you from praying bold prayers.

Prayer is the difference between letting things happen and making things happen. Prayer's the difference between you fighting for God and God fighting for you. Prayer's the difference between the best you can do and the best God can do. And God is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine according to his power, that's at work within us. If you believe that, would you add your amen? We're coming up on the five-year anniversary of an unbelievable miracle in my life. I still can't even believe it. Unbelievable! I had severe asthma for 40 years. There weren't 40 days in 40 years that I did not have to take multiple puffs of a rescue inhaler. I slept with it under my pillow. I played basketball with it in my sock. I never went anywhere without my inhaler. Guess what? I haven't touched an inhaler in 1,811 days. How does that happen? You don't give up on God. You keep praying bold prayers.

I don't know why it took that long! That's past my pay grade. And by the way, I've learned it's gonna happen on his terms and his timeline, right? But I have experienced too many miracles to not pray some bold prayers. And I believe that God is activating faith in your life right now. Is there a God given dream that you've given up on? Is there a situation that you simply submitted to? Is there a miracle that you stopped believing God for? All I know is this, God honors bold prayers because bold prayers honor God. He is still the God who makes the sun stand still. He is still the God who makes sidewalks through the sea. He is still the God who turns water into wine. He is still the God who moves mountains with mustard seeds of faith. How? Through the prayers of His people and the provision of His Spirit.

The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you. If that ever got halfway through our heart, if we could begin to comprehend 1% of the reality of that theology, it would change everything. I mean, long before you woke up this morning, long after you go to sleep tonight, the Spirit of God is interceding you for you with groanings that can't even be put into words. Without the holy Spirit, I'm below average, anybody else? With the Holy Spirit, all bets are off and all things are possible. Are you a thermometer that's just reflecting room temperature? Or are you a thermostat that is shifting the atmosphere around you?

If we're gonna live inside out, if we're gonna change the temperature, the internal pressure of the Holy Spirit needs to be greater than the external pressure of popular opinion, trending hashtags, peer pressure, implicit bias, sexual temptation, canceled culture. You can fill in the blank with a couple of dozen other things. If external pressure is greater than the internal pressure of what the Spirit's doing in us, we implode. But if the internal pressure of the Holy Spirit is greater than that external pressure, you can not only survive a fiery furnace. You can not only survive a lion's den. Come on, you can come out the other side and impact the world around you. Through the prayers of God's people, through the provision of God's Spirit. Paul makes this bold declaration. "My distress will lead to my deliverance".

Now there are two kinds of stress. There is eustress, right? eustress. And it's normal, natural, it's healthy, it's what keeps us motivated. The opposite of eustress is distress and it's fight or flight. It's this constant state of stress that releases this stress hormone called cortisol. According to the CDC, 60% of Americans are experiencing daily distress. How do we survive that kind of stress? How do we thrive in those kinds of circumstances? I think we take a page out of Paul's book called Philippians. Okay, remember, Paul is writing this letter from prison. Okay? It's the last place that Paul wants to be, but he doesn't play the victim card. He doesn't throw a pity party. Paul makes a difficult decision. He chooses joy while chained to a Roman centurion most likely. He sees adversity as a unique opportunity to share the good news of the gospel with the Praetorian, the 9,000 Roman soldiers who were entrusted with gardening the City of Rome.

According to Doctor Martin Seligman, all of us have what he calls an explanatory style. "Explanatory style is the manner in which you habitually explained to yourself why events happen"? This is so important, stick with me. It is our self-talk. It's our inner monologue. It's our meta narrative. Now, according to Seligman, your explanations are more important than your experiences. Now, here's what I know for sure. It's not what happens to you that makes you who you are. It's what you do with what happens to you that makes you who you are. I've seen people go through the same set of circumstances, the same tragedies, the same adversities, the same difficulty. And one person gets bitter and the other person gets better.

What is the difference between bitter and better? I think it's your explanatory style. I think it's how you're explaining these things to yourself. And it's not just the difference between bitter and better, it's the difference between hope and hopelessness. It's the difference between joy and joylessness. I mean, it's the difference between humility and pride, love and hate, racism and gracism. Explanatory style is like this jigsaw puzzle. It's our outlook on life. It's this worldview that we have. And I think Philippians 119 is a significant piece of Paul's puzzle. Come on, would you just own it today? My distress will lead to my deliverance. I think we often think that our mistakes disqualify us from ministry. Oh, the enemy would love for us to buy that one, right? No, no, no. It's your mistakes that are your ministry. Why? Because that's where you've experienced the grace of God!

Because His power is made perfect in weakness. You tell me where you have been hurt and I will tell you where God wants to use you to help heal other people. During a 60 year career, as a psychiatrist, Carl Young came to a conclusion about seemingly insurmountable problems. He said, "We don't solve them, we outgrow them". How? He said, "We discover something more important than the problem. And when we do, the problem loses its power and goes away". Do you remember what Pastor Rob, Pastor Jenny said last weekend? The way you get joy is by giving it away. I think one of the best ways to solve your problems, please hear me, is to just serve others.

Last weekend we told you about an opportunity this summer to serve. If you weren't here, it's too late, you can't. All right, we'll let you, it's not too late. Listen, make this a summer of service. And what I've found is that when I begin to serve other people, I don't fixate quite as much on what's wrong with me. And it starts to solve that problem. All right, let's talk about verse 27 and we're gonna go fast. "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then whether I come and see you are only here about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirits, driving together as one for the faith of the gospel". And he says this, "Don't be intimidated in any way by your enemies".

I love that last line. 'Cause I feel like sometimes I'm easily intimidated. Don't be intimidated by those who bait you or hate you. Don't be intimidated by those who troll you and shame you, cancel you. I don't think I'm gonna stand before they're thrown someday. And, okay, should I preach? If you live of the compliments, you will die by criticism. You can please some of the people all the time, all the people some of the time, you can't please all the people all the time. I had a little flashback today to a moment with one of my counselors. Yes, I have multiple counselors. And I remember saying to my counselor, like, "I don't wanna disappoint anyone ever". And he kinda chuckled a little bit, said Mark, "That's a pretty big burden to bear". He said, "You know, seems to me like Jesus disappointed people all the time". Maybe we're trying to carry more of a load than even Jesus did or intended us to.

Here's my advice. One, don't let fear dictate your decisions. And two, don't let popular opinion compromise your convictions. You have to figure out who you're gonna offend. If you're afraid of offending people, really high likelihood that you're gonna offend God. And if you're afraid of offending God, you'll probably offend some people, including some Pharisees. It seems to me like Jesus offended Pharisees with great intentionality and regularity. Could have healed any day of the week. A lot more fun on the Sabbath. Let's just kill two birds with one stone. We'll heal and then we'll just confront the religiosity of the Pharisees who can't see the forest through the trees. Hmm hmm hmm! Newsflash. Some of what we believe puts us on the wrong side of culture.

And this, my friends is nothing new. The fault lines in Philippi ran deep. This Philippians who followed the Jesus way, lived at odds with much of Roman culture, they lived by very different values, they practiced a very different sexual ethic. They refused to bow down to idols and ideologies that weren't in alignment with God's good pleasing and perfect will. And Paul says, don't be intimidated. Don't be intimidated. Conduct yourselves in a way that is worthy of the gospel. Now we have four principles of peacemaking thanks to NCC youth. By the way, we just hired not one but two youth pastors. Can I introduce them to you? This is pretty exciting. I'll show you their pictures, Mandy Monson and her husband, Phil, and then Collin Savage, his wife, Rachel, they're awfully cute kids, Jedi and Kylo.

And by the way, the song we just sang, this new single that we just put out, "Something New," you can get it. Spotify, iTunes, anywhere. Collin is the lead vocal on that song, how fun is that? And so, so excited about Pastor Mandy, pastor Collin, joining our team. Now a few years ago, NCC youth came up with these four principles of peacemaking. Now it seems to me like our culture isn't very good at agreeing to disagree. And that's where these four principles of peace-making come into play. Here they are. One, ask to listen, two, listen well, three, disagree freely, four, love regardless.

All right, let me double back to verse 27. Paul says, "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner that is worthy of the gospel". Sometimes I read these and I kind of just chuckled to myself like, "Oh"! I have this little, in fact I have a button I got it years ago from like some office store. And whenever we're making really hard decisions, I usually bring it to the meeting. I wish I had it, oh, you hit the button and it says, "That was easy". And I love pulling it out, like in the hardest meetings, right? Where you have to make the most difficult decision, "That was easy". No, it wasn't easy. You know, I'm reading this and I'm thinking to myself, whatever happens, which I think is everything, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel. That was easy. No, it's not.

So a few weeks ago I'm picking up some propane from Frager's hardware. And I know it's only gonna take two minutes. Now, if you live on Capitol Hill, you know where this is going, sometimes you got to roll the dice. And so yes, I did park outside of a permitted parking area and I'll pay the ticket if I have to, but I knew it was gonna be two minutes. And so I get out of my car. I head over to hardware store. Ooh! I haven't been stared down like this in a long time. Someone wasn't so happy about where I parked. And I want you to know, I conducted myself in a manner worthy of the gospel. And I let it go and I let it go, oh boy! Two minutes later, I get my propane. I'm headed back to the car. He is still staring me down. Ah, I could have walked by, I should have walked by. I could have smiled. He said, "It's been a long day, huh"? Little sarcastic. We got into a little conversation. When a car pulls up, rolls down it's window and says, "Hi, Pastor Mark".

The Lord is so good at keeping us humble. I just, what I'm trying to do here is level the playing field, okay? You are not gonna bat a thousand, but hopefully, and by the way, if that's you and you're here, I just I wanna take full response, I'm sorry, okay? 'Cause this is probably the weekend that you will visit this church. And so part of conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of gospel doesn't mean you always get it right, but when you get it wrong, you fess up when you mess up, okay? Now, you've heard me say this a hundred times, much easier to act like a Christian than it is to react like one. Most of us are really good at acting, but it's our reactions that really reveal what's happening in here. So Lord help us. Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel. The NLT says, "You must live as citizens of heaven".

Just stick with me for a couple more minutes. Most of us are citizens of this country. And I wanna say, I'm grateful for our democracy, there is no perfect form of government because the government is only as good as the people who govern. John Adams said it this way, "Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other". Democracy without morality doesn't work. Newsflash. Having said that, let me say this. We celebrate the political process. I know a lot of people outside the Beltway, the whole problem was what's happening inside the Beltway. I get that, we have our fair share of problems, but we honor the political process and we celebrate those who are public servants. In fact, we pray that God would raise up some Daniels and Esters and Nehemiah's and Deborah's, listen, two thirds of the Old Testament was written by or written for those who held positions of political power. And so politics matter because policy matters because people matter.

Now that said, we have dual citizenship. And our primary citizenship is in this thing called the kingdom of heaven. And I think we'd need an occasional reality check here. And occasional gut-check. When we participate in politics to solve a problem, says as her client, we're participating transactionally. But when we participate in politics to express who we are, that's a signal that politics has become an identity. Now, I wanna be careful here 'cause all of us have lots of identities, right? I mean, the team that you cheer for, the party that you typically vote for, where you're from, your alma mater, your relationships and roles, the job that you have, like we all, we have so many identities, but we've got to make sure that those earthly identities are not our primary identity. Our primary identity is as children of God, as citizens of God's kingdom. And so, if you filter your biblical theology through your political ideology, it's called idolatry.

So let's be careful right here. And that's the problem with identity politics. In a culture that is racially divided and politically polarized, let me kind of flip the script here. 'Cause I think this is, I got some good news, okay? We have a unique opportunity. I love the way David Grizzle says this, "Unity amongst this similar people serves the purpose of being indisputable proof that God is in the house". We are moving from diversity to unity, to becoming this beloved community. And when we do, heaven invades earth. When we love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, bless those who curse us, heaven invades earth. When we turn the other cheek, when we go the extra mile, heaven invades earth, when we do unto others as we would have others do unto us, heaven invades earth. Now we're shifting the atmosphere.

Now we're changing the temperature. And so let me close at this. 2000 years ago, Jesus said, "I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it". God is not nervous. Now he didn't say, "I will build your church". He didn't say, "You will build my church". He said, "I, I will build my, my church and the gates of hell will not". There is no set of circumstances that can keep God's kingdom from coming in power and in glory. And so let's get the story straight. Injustice is not the end of the story. There is a God of justice who redeems and reconciles.

Sin is not the end of the story, where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. Racism is not the end of the story because the day is coming when every nation, tribe, people, language, will worship around the throne. Grief is not the end of the story. There is a God who gives beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Suffering is not the end of the story. The day is coming where there will be no more suffering or sorrow or sickness or pain. Please hear me. The kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. And we are here for such a time as this. We are here for such a place as this. This is our moment! To love and to lead and to change the temperature and to shift the atmosphere, to stand in the gap as peacemakers, grace givers, truth tellers, tone setters, and joy bringers.

And so, our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven in Jesus' name. Amen and amen and amen and amen, amen!

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