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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Mark Batterson » Mark Batterson - Dare To Be Different

Mark Batterson - Dare To Be Different

Mark Batterson - Dare To Be Different

If you wanna repeat history, do it the way it's always been done. If you wanna make history, dare to be different. In 1964, a teenager named Dick Fosbury revolutionized the sport of high jumping. The conventional method of jumping over the bar was the straddle, the western roll, the scissors jump. But they didn't fit his six foot five inch body type. So instead of doing it the way it had always been done, Dick Fosbury innovated a face up, shoulders first jump that quite frankly looked so awkward that one reporter likened it to a fish flopping in a boat. Well, four years and hundreds of awkward jumps later, Dick Fosbury represented Team USA in the 1968 Mexico Olympics, not only won a gold medal, set a new Olympic record, seven feet, four and a quarter inches.

What I find interesting is that by the next Olympic Games, 28 out of 40 high jumpers used the technique named after the man who dared to be different, The Fosbury Flop. If you want to repeat history, just keep doing it the way it's been done. If you wanna make history, any history makers? If you wanna make history, dare to be different. Here's the challenge. At some point, most of us stop creating the future and start repeating the past. We stop living out of imagination, start living out of memory. We stop being transformed and we start being conformed to the world around us. That is when and where and why we need to Fosbury Flop.

Welcome to National Community Church, in person, online, real time, on demand. We kick off a new series on the anointing titled X. And I'm pumped. I just, I feel like, like I mean if football season started, and I get like, like I guess that's it, right? Like I'm so pumped, let me just prime the pump a little bit. The anointing is the X factor. The anointing is the it factor. The anointing doesn't make you better than anybody else. It makes you better than you. How exciting is that? The anointing is the difference between the best you can do and the best God can do. The anointing is our JND, just, noticeable, difference. It amplifies and intensifies the gifts that God has given you so you do things beyond your ability so you don't get the credit, so God gets the glory. And I've got some good news. It's available to anyone anytime, anywhere.

Here's what I believe. I believe every series is a season. Now this is an open heaven season. And so what I'm believing for is a fresh anointing, a greater anointing, a new anointing for a new season in Jesus' name. 1978, a man named John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard Movement had this moment where, a defining moment, you know there are decades when nothing happens and there are days when decades happen. And this was one of those days he heard the still small voice of the Holy Spirit say, "I've seen your ministry, now let me show you mine". Do it Lord, in each one of us. Come on, you're the only Bible some people are ever gonna read. Are you a good translation? You're the only church some people will ever attend.

Are you a life-giving church? My best is not enough without the anointing, I'm below average. But with the anointing, all bets are off. It is our secret sauce. It's our unfair advantage. Who wants it and who needs it? Come on. So ready or not, here we go. Over the next 10 weeks, we wanna look at 10 different anointings and we'll approach it biographically, because I think just as you have a unique fingerprint, voice print, I print, you have a unique anointing. And I think biography is like an out-of-body experience. For what it's worth, just kind of let you into my world. I'm always reading seven, eight books at a time, and I always try to have a biography in my reading rotation. Why? Well, Ivan Pavlov said, if you want new ideas, read old books. And in the same sense, if you wanna discover who you are, my advice is don't read self-help, read biography because it's reading about other people that will help put your life into perspective.

So we approach the Bible, there are these unbelievable biographies. We wanna look at these anointings and believe that the same God wants to anoint us, who anointed them. We kick off with the Caleb anointing. I want you to meet me on the eastern banks of the Jordan River. Numbers 14, the Israelites can see the promised land. It's been 400 years. They can almost taste it. They can almost touch it. They send 12 spies into the land flowing with milk and honey, and two of them wonder to empowers activate. Come back with a positive report. Caleb and Joshua, oh God, raise up a Joshua generation. Oh God, give us a Caleb anointing. Here's the reality check, and by the way, this is the diffusion of innovation. There's always a bell curve. I don't care if your name is Moses. You go up Mount Sinai, come down with 10 commandments inscribed on stone by the finger of God, you're still gonna experience 16% who are called late adopters or resistors or laggards.

Isn't it interesting that the math here is 16.67%? There's always gonna be 10 negative people. And you're thinking to yourself, well what's the big deal? 10 negative people cost Israel an entire generation. 10 negative people kept Israel out of the promised land. 10 negative people cost them 40 years in the wilderness. Don't tell me this isn't a big deal. Don't tell me it's not a spiritual issue. By the way, we'll come back. I'm not talking about positivity as a function of personality. I'm talking about positivity as a function of theology, as a function of the promises of God. Numbers 14:24, everybody's getting negative. Not Caleb. My servant Caleb, here it is, has a different spirit. Wait, it has a what? What is that different spirit? This is not complicated. A different spirit is the spirit of God at work in your spirit. And it makes you different, changes everything.

"A different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, and I will bring him into the land he explored and his descendants will inherit it". Do you remember this Good Friday, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King arrested for protesting and was criticized by white clergy for the timing, for the tactics. And Dr. King responded with a letter from a Birmingham jail. In that letter, he said this, "There was a time when the church was very powerful, in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days, the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion. It was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society".

Question, are you a thermometer or are you a thermostat? Are you taking your cues from trending hashtags, or are you taking your prompts from the Holy Spirit? 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 shifting the atmosphere with faith, hope and love? Are you standing in the gap as a peacemaker, grace giver, truth teller, tone setter? Caleb had a different spirit. Let me just get in our business a little bit, okay? And it's dangerous 'cause I'm going off script, but I think our prayer number one, prayer number one, Lord change them. We want God to change others because it's just so much easier than changing ourselves, because they're the problem.

Now if that doesn't work, Lord, change my circumstances. Oh, deliver me Lord, from my circumstances. Maybe just maybe the circumstances we are asking God to change are the circumstances that God is using to change me. It's not about changing others, it's not about changing circumstances. Lord, change me. Help me be in the same situation as everybody else, but operate in a different spirit. But the only way you're gonna do that is with the anointing. We need that anointing. Says he had a different spirit. But I want you to notice who the promise is for. "And follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he explored and his descendants, his descendants will inherit it".

We think right here, right now, God is thinking nations and generations. We think of what God does for us, is for us. And it is, but it isn't. It's always for the third and fourth generation. Do you know every year, like some bird species, monarch butterflies migrate from Mexico to Canada? Which you may not know, is fascinating to me, takes four generations to do it. In other words, none of those monarchs reached the promised land. It takes three generations of monarchs to make that 3,000 mile migration north. It only takes one generation, you gotta love this, it's called a super generation to make the 3,000 mile trip south. Why? Because those butterflies catch the jet stream, because they catch the thermal currents that are a mile high and it enables them, butterflies to fly 50 miles a day. The anointing is the jet stream.

Come on somebody, the anointing is the thermal current that allows us to go faster and farther and see God do things that we cannot do. But that's not even my point. My point is this, maybe God is doing something bigger and better and longer than me and you. Maybe God is doing something intergenerational. I think like in every message in the last several months, I've said God is writing a bigger story. Like I just, I'm connecting dots differently. I'm seeing scripture differently. I'm seeing my life differently. I mean we have a hard time believing God for cities, and God says, ask of me and I will give the nations. We have a hard time believing God for our immediate needs. And God says, I'm trying to do something for 70 years from now. It's always about the third and fourth generation. Little sermon within a sermon.

I love the genealogies, which sounds ridiculous. I mean let's, I mean that's the part you skip over, right? Like there's just a bunch of really hard to pronounce names. Someday we're gonna do a series titled Genealogy. But in the meantime, here are seven lessons from the genealogies. I'll just pull these out real quick and then apply it to Caleb. One, the genealogies remind us that it's not about us. Two, all of us are born into someone else's story. Three, you never know who is in the womb. Every number has a name, every name has a story and every story matters to God. Four, God is always writing a bigger story. Legacy is not what you accomplish. Legacy is what others accomplish because of you. Discipleship is growing fruit on other people's trees. Success is succession.

Five, we drink from wells we did not dig. And by the way, we flip that blessing by digging wells for the next generation. Or 109 micro piles, 40 feet deep to reinforce 130 year old columns so that maybe the next generation can build on top of the capital turnaround. Six, the genealogies remind us that God is bigger than generational curses. That's a word for someone. You are not defined by your family of origin. You can rewrite the narrative, you can break the curse. You can even pass on a generational blessing. And seven, the genealogies remind us to dream big, pray hard, and think long. It's all about long obedience in the same direction. We underestimate what we can accomplish in one generation. But we underestimate what God can do in three or four generations.

And so here's the big idea. We get grafted into God's story by the author and perfecter of our faith. And now we get to be part of something that's bigger and better and longer. Father Abraham had many sons, and many sons had Father Abraham. And I am one of them, and so are you. So let's just praise the Lord right here. Matthew 1:2 says, "Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac, the father of Jacob, and Jacob, the father of Judah and his brothers". You can read that one verse in like two seconds. And we read right over it, but that one verse represents 502 years of faithfulness. 502 years of God proving himself faithful. 502 years of pain and suffering, of promise, of dreams, of ups and downs.

What does any of that have to do with Caleb? Here's my big point. The story of Caleb doesn't start with Caleb and it doesn't end with Caleb. It started with an ancestor named Abraham. It was Abraham who built an altar, where? In Hebron. The very place that Caleb will conquer. But hundreds of years before his ancestor built an alter there, setting him up. Oh, and guess what? Hundreds of years after Caleb, it will become David's stronghold, David's capital city. Maybe just maybe what God did for Caleb, he was doing for David hundreds of years later.

Can I suggest today that God has done some things in your life for the sake of someone else? There are generational blessings you did nothing to deserve. That we are the beneficiaries of prayers we know nothing about. We drink from wells we did not dig. By the way, when I say that now, I think of that Easter sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial. I mean what a moment to host our first gathering there. I mean for thousands of people to gather in such a historic place and such a place of consequence to gather on the National Mall and just declare to the nation that Christ is risen, that the tomb is empty. But guess what? We didn't do that.

1979, Pastor Amos Dodge had a thought that he thought was a thought. Now it was a God idea. Only 127 people showed up that first year. But for 43 years, Pastor Amos Dodge, Pastor Travis Goodman, Capital Church carried that vision. And now we drink from a well we did not dig. So you know what I say? We better get busy digging some wells for the next generation. Now we're talking about genealogies. Let me talk for a minute about genetics. It's a recent study involving rats that's rewriting the rules of genetics. Rats have large litters up to about 20 pups. And the difference between good rat moms and bad rat moms is how much they lick their rat pups. The way rats nurture their babies is by licking them.

Now researchers have discovered that rats that lick their babies, those babies lick their rat pups. So what? Well licking is a learned trait, fair? And this is where it gets interesting. Stick with me. The rats who were licked had more of a particular protein that activates maternal instinct. Simply put, the rats who had more of this protein were more maternal. Now, question, what makes protein? The answer is DNA. And this is where nature and nurture intersect. This is the holy grail of genetics. The assumption among geneticists for a long time was that you could not alter DNA behaviorally. It just doesn't work that way. But this study found that licking arouses the rat pups, which releases adrenaline and noradrenaline. Those hormones then flip a switch in the thyroid system, which activates a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which functions as an antidepressant. But it doesn't just alter mood, it has an epigenetic effect.

Now I'm way past my pay grade, so I'm gonna stay locked on my notes. Serotonin has a domino effect on DNA. That's what this study is suggesting. There are proteins called transcription factors, and as the name suggests, they transcribe DNA into RNA. Now all of that to say this and it's pretty unbelievable, something as simple as licking. Turn and lick your neighbor. No, no, no, no, don't, stop, stop! Something as simple as licking has an epigenetic effect. In other words, it can alter the DNA of the next generation. You can rewrite the future. You can pass on a generational blessing. You can set the table for the next generation. There is a very real interconnection between what's happening in our environment and what's happening in our DNA. And this should not surprise us because we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Something as simple as rat moms licking rat pups changes them at a molecular level.

Now the implications and applications of this one study are profound. We don't just think our way into acting different. Hold on. We can act our way into thinking different. You know what I immediately think of? Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Do you know you cannot give to kingdom clauses without giving some of your heart to it? And when you act generously, it just begins to transform your thinking. And where I'm going with all of this is I think that this one act of courage, Caleb saying, give me the high country, spoiler alert, takes the city of Hebron. I think this one act of courage has an epigenetic effect on Israel.

Now you may say, Pastor Mark, you're getting carried away. Not if that is true. I think it affects the entire tribe of Judah. Huh, maybe even the lion of the tribe of Judah. Someone today needs you to be more courageous. Someone today needs you to take a risk. Someone today needs you to lick them! I mean to love them, to love them. Someone needs you to break that addiction. Hold on, not for you, for your kids and your grandkids, and the third and fourth generation, in Jesus' name. The New Testament calls us more than conquers. I mean, I can't help but think of Caleb defines it. Oswald Chambers talked about something called inner unconquerableness. He said there is no power on earth or in hell that can conquer the spirit of God in the human spirit. It is an inner unconquerableness. You are more than a conquer.

Caleb, I love Caleb. The man, the myth, the legend. Caleb was Chuck Norris before Chuck Norris. Caleb counted to infinity twice. Caleb used pepper spray on his meat. This, you're gonna catch up to me. Caleb could dribble a bowling ball. Caleb could shut a revolving door. His diary is called The Guinness Book of World Records. When the boogeyman goes to bed, he checks his closet for Caleb. Caleb makes onions cry. When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, he had a missed call from Caleb. The Swiss army used Caleb knives. When Caleb was born, he drove his mom home from the hospital. I can keep going, I can keep going. If it's funny to me, you're gonna get it. "Courage is not just one of the virtues", said C.S. Lewis. "It's the form of every virtue at its testing point".

Let me double back and double down. Let me show you the codex of cognitive biases. And this is gonna be a little bit depressing, but there are hundreds of cognitive biases that affect us. And some of these you're familiar with, confirmation bias, that you generally see what you're looking for and ignore everything else. You know, if you're looking for an excuse, you'll always find one. If you're looking for an opportunity, you'll always find one. But the cognitive bias that is killing us right now, and the cognitive bias that was killing Israel was the negativity bias. According to Cleveland Clinic, about 60,000 thoughts a day. About 80% of those thoughts are negative.

Houston, we have a problem. It's our internal self-talk. We are our own worst enemy. Sports fans, you know this is true. Losses carry seven times the emotional weight as wins. One criticism plus a thousand compliments equals one criticism, right? So how do we stay positive when everyone's getting negative? Numbers 13 verse 28. The spies come back. Oh by the way, this reminds me of the monk. You heard of the monk who took the vow of silence? Yeah, no? You wanna hear about him? Only allowed two words every seven years. After the first seven years, said, "food bad". Seven more years, "bed hard". Another seven years, "I quit". Monsignor said, "I'm not surprised, all you've done since you got here is complain". Not sure if I'll use that in the next service. That's what happens internally is. Oh man. "The land does flow with milk and honey. But".

Now if it said, "but God", we're on good ground and this is trending the right way. But the narrative takes a negative turn. "But the people who live there are powerful and the cities are fortified. We can't attack those people, they're stronger than we are". And that is true. But it's not the issue, it's never the issue. The issue isn't how strong the inhabitants of Canaan are. The issue isn't how big they are. The issue is how big God is. Is he bigger than your biggest mistake? Is he bigger than your biggest problem? Am I in the right room? Is he bigger than your biggest dream? "A low view of God is the cause of a hundred lesser evils", said A. W. Tozer. "A high view of God is a solution to 10,000 temporal problems".

Here's the problem, like here's like the macro problem. Almost everything else is a presenting problem. In the beginning, God created us in his image. We have been creating God in our image ever since. So what you end up with is a God who looks like us, thinks like us, votes like us. You end up with a God who can never transcend you, never overwhelm you, never deliver you. Our biggest problem is it our God is too small. Whew. To the infinite, all finites are equal. There is no degree of difficulty. There is no possible or impossible.

Verse 32, "All the people", which is hilarious to me, 'cause it's like it's all of these, it's generalizing, it's catastrophizing. It's all of these terms that counselors make us aware of, that we're like our language is belying, our life lies is belying, the lies that we believe. All of the people we saw there are of great size. Are you telling me they didn't have kids? Like there ain't no way, there had to be someone who was vertically challenged, even one person. Like they aren't all giants. That says, "we seem like grasshoppers in our own eyes and we look the same to them". When you look at the challenges, when you look at the giants, when you look at the problems, what do you see? And how do you see yourself?

A. W. Tozer said, "What comes to mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us". And I believe that, it's true, but it's a half truth. C.S. Lewis famously flipped it and said, "What comes to mind when God thinks about us is the most important thing about us". What does God think? In fact, let's just make it interactive. Like this is gonna be uncomfortable, but I'm not gonna make you lick anybody. Turn to the person next to you and tell 'em, you're the image of God. Tell 'em you're the apple of God's eye. You are God's workmanship. Come on, online, I can hear you, I can almost hear you online. Tell him you are more than a conqueror.

I mean, one of our problems is pride. You know you can do the will of God and God can oppose it. 'Cause God opposes the proud, he cannot bless pride. But I would say false humility is an equal opportunity problem. It's not believing who God says you are, or it's believing that you're less than who God says you are. And it's just not doing anybody any favors when you operate at less than the full authority that you've been given in Christ, when you operate in less than the full anointing that God's given you. And by the way, come on, God wants to anoint surgeons in the operating room, lawyers in the courtroom, entrepreneurs in the boardroom, busboys in the dining room, joint chiefs of staff in the situation room, all y'all!

Wants to anoint all of us to not just have this ability beyond ability. But you know what the it factor is I think in the anointing is the attitude. Because someone who is anointed, the Holy Spirit can't fill you if you're full of yourself. So if it's a true anointing, then what's happening is someone has checked their ego at the door and they're allowing God to work through them and move through them. And that's why a true anointing will always bring out the best in other people. We'll talk more about that next week. Woo, I got to giddy up! Speaking of him, I'm just, let's just go to verse 30. "Caleb silenced the people before Moses".

Shut your trap. I don't know what just came over me. You need to put some people on mute. If the loudest voice is the loudest voice in your life, we are in trouble. The still small voice of the Holy Spirit needs to be the loudest voice in our lives. "Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, 'Let's go.'" Turn to your neighbor and say, "Let's go". Say it like Patrick Mahomes two times, "Let's go, let's go"! Now I watched "The Quarterback" on Netflix, I can't help it. If God is for us, who can be against us? So I say, go set, ready. I say, go home or, go big or go home. That's what Caleb does.

And I'll close with this, verse 10 of Joshua 14. I'm kind of jumping around, but man, dig into these biographies and see if it doesn't give you a little bit of that anointing this week. "So here I am today, 85 years old, and I'm still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out". Wait, wait, wait, wait, what, what, what? Next time you're at the gym, I just, I wanna see an 85 year old just like deadlift or bench pressing. Woo! As my strength, I received that in Jesus' name. "As my strength was then, so my strength is now, I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me the hill country".

Do you know what he is saying here? Give me the hardest place that there is to take in the promise land. If Caleb's life teaches us anything, it's like, do it different, do it scared. Do it now and do it difficult, right? Give me the hill country, the high ground, the fortified, because my God can do it. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. I really am gonna close with this. There's a nuance in Numbers 13:22, as the spies enter the promise land, and it's easily missed. It says they, they plural went through the Negev and he came to Hebron. And like anybody who studies the Bible is fascinated when there's a verb tense kind of mid-sentence, like, what's happening here? Who is he?

The answer according to rabbinic tradition is Caleb. He is him, to quote a football coach from Colorado. The implication according to rabbinic tradition is that Caleb, don't miss this, disassociated himself from the rest of the spies. Remember what I said at the beginning? At some point, you're gonna have to do a Fosbury Flop. You're gonna need to dare to be different. There's gonna come a moment where you need to disassociate from popular opinion. Youth, there's gonna be a lot of moments where you're gonna have to disassociate from peer pressure. There are gonna be moments where you have to disassociate from majority vote. That's what Caleb does.

According to the Talmud, Caleb makes a pilgrimage to Hebron. And he swears on his grandparents' grave, don't miss this. The same place where Abraham built an altar, the same place where he was buried. He makes a vow. He says, "My father's beseeched mercy on my behalf that I may be delivered from the council of the spies". In other words, oh God, don't let 10 negative people get the best in me. I'm praying it for you today. Don't let the negative people at work. Don't let the naysayers who say it cannot be done. Don't let the people who can't believe the dream God's put in your heart. Don't let them reign on your parade. Don't let them label you. The only person you should ever let label you is the one who made you. Everything has a label, made in America, made in Mexico, made in Thailand. If you had a label, made in the image of God. Don't let anybody else label you. You're gonna have to disassociate yourself from someone at some point.

Do you know how God answered that plea, answered that prayer? According to rabbinic tradition, I love this, he didn't change those 10 spies. Oh, I wish, I wish they would've changed. He didn't change the circumstances. By the way, read the text, one year for every day that the spies were in the promise land. Heartbreaking. He didn't change those other 10 spies. He didn't change the circumstances. He changed Caleb! He gave him a different spirit. And I say, do it again, Lord. Do it again. Do it again in my life. Do it again in our lives. Give us a different spirit. Anoint us to be the ones who take the hill country in Jesus' name. Amen.
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