Jesus Wrecks Religion – Week 1

Posted By on December 6, 2019


– Let’s pray together after that song. God, that song is my prayer for us today, that we would not hear about Your love, that we would not learn about Your love, but that we would feel Your love. Because, God, we come in here with all kinds of stuff going on. And we got the school problems
and the work problems, and the marriage struggles,
and we’re anxious, and we’re insecure, and we’re
afraid, and we’re bitter, and we have no expectation
that we’re gonna come in in a place like this and get
some Jesus magic fairy dust and walk out of here with all our problems perfectly solved forever,
but we wanna feel Your love and we wanna walk out here
different because of Jesus. That’s why we’re here, Amen. What’s up, Flatirons? If we haven’t met, my name is Carl and I pastor a church called
Mosaic out in Baltimore where we have a good football team. And that’s– (congregation laughs) (congregation applauds) They asked me to speak truth. That’s why I’m here. (congregation laughs) They called me a friend of Flatirons. And I’ll be honest, I consider myself part of the family here. This is my third time here
and I just consider myself part of the big Flatirons family. So I appreciate you guys having me back. Real quick, I wanna brag to you about you. The last time I was here the team asked me to talk about giving, which, if you’ve been in church at
any, any part of your life, you know the two things that people don’t wanna hear about at church are anything about money and
anything about sex, right? Like, God, these are mine. I’m good, leave these things alone. I don’t wanna hear anybody
on stage or You or whatever tell me what to do with those things. So it’s kind of a sensitive topic. But we learn from Jesus about money, we listen to Sarah McLachlan together. And the finance team sent
me an email about you, I don’t know, three weeks after
I was here, and they said, “Carl, we wanna let you know
that in the past several weeks, “after that message of
learning from Jesus, “that the total number of
individuals and families “who’d gone online for the very first time “to set up online giving is 308.” And so I just wanna take a second and recognize those of you who did that because you’re taking a big risk to say, “God, I’m gonna let go some of my money “I’m gonna let go of
control, I’m gonna trust You “in a very vulnerable area and
I’m gonna see what happens.” So I just think we should
give it up for those people and we’re proud of you. (all applaud) But my favorite conversation that weekend was a woman I talked to
in the lobby at Lafayette after all the services were done. I’ve never met her before. She came up to me. She was a little older and
she looks kinda nervous, I guess, to talk to me. She introduced herself
and she started by saying, “Hey, I didn’t really like your sermon.” (all laugh) So it’s nice to meet you too, hun. And she said, “You talked about “how we should just all go give online.” But she said, “I’m homeless
and I live on social security.” And for some other reasons
that she went into, she said, “I can’t do that. “That doesn’t work for me.” So she said, “I bring my $20
cash,” and she held it up, “out of my social security
check every single week “because I believe in God’s mission “and I need Him to take
care of me desperately. “And so can you just make sure “this goes towards God’s mission?” And she gave me the 20
and she walked away. And then, yeah, you can clap for that. (congregation applauds) But that just kinda
reminded me of who we are. So if you’re new, I just
wanna let you know at the top, here’s who we are. Flatirons is for everybody. And it doesn’t matter your race, your age, your gender, what religion
you’re raised in, if any, it doesn’t matter what political party you affiliate yourself with, it doesn’t matter how much
money you make or don’t have, it doesn’t matter whether you’re homeless or live in mansion, if
you’re a student or retired, whether you are all in on Jesus or whether you are completely cynical and feel like you’ve been by the church this is a place where you will find a God and you will find people who
love you just as you are. – [Congregation] Amen. – And that’s the truth. (congregation applauds) So we’re, yeah. (congregation applauds) So we’re starting our
Christmas series today. And I love Christmas. It’s arguably the best holiday there is. But, I don’t mean to be a Scrooge, but there are some things I
don’t like about Christmas. I don’t like the extra
traffic at Christmas. I don’t understand why
people haven’t figured out: it’s called amazon.com. You don’t have to go to the mall. (congregation laughs) It’s there. I don’t like the pressure,
this is just kinda me, I don’t like the pressure
of opening presents in front of other people at Christmas. I hate this feeling. Because I don’t know if I’m gonna like it, I don’t know how I’m gonna react, I can’t control my face when that happens. And I’m married to someone who’s like the world’s best present opener. Do you know somebody like this? If you get my wife anything, it can be a shirt she’s never gonna wear, it can be somethin’ she thinks is ugly, it can be somethin’ she didn’t ask for, she’ll open it up and you
feel like a million bucks because she says, “Oh,
this is so thoughtful. “Thank you so much. “I appreciate this. “You care for me such, thank you.” I mean it makes you wanna just go out and buy her
somethin’ else right then. (congregation laughs) If you buy me somethin’ I don’t like, I open it up and like, “Thanks.” (congregation laughs) That’s it. Somethin’ else I don’t like that comes up at Christmas is glitter. (congregation laughs) Somebody called glitter the
herpes of the craft store; it never goes away and it shows up at the worse possible times. (all laugh) Last year somebody sent
me a Christmas card covered in glitter. I just interpreted that to
being, “Carl, I hate you. “Merry Christmas!” (congregation laughs) Somethin’ else I think
is weird at Christmas those pictures of the nativity. And of course the
nativity is like the scene of when Jesus was born. So there’s the barn, there’s
baby Jesus in the manger, there’s His mother Mary, father Joseph, and the shepherds crowded around and you’ll these on Christmas
cards or different places. But there’s some weird versions of this. And I just wanna show you
a couple I found online. A bunch of pictures of nativity have like a spotlight on Jesus from heaven. I don’t know what the spotlight is. I missed that in the Christmas story. Next one, a bunch of ’em, Jesus glows. Like what’s happening here? I don’t read that in the Bible. This one freaks me out because
it’s flying angel heads. I don’t know– (congregation laughs) And then this, when I
was looking for these I found this next one which
I love, hipster nativity. (congregation laughs) So I just wanna unpack this real quick so you don’t miss any details. There’s organic cow, right? There’s, you go to the right side there’s Amazon delivery guys on Segways. I love Mary, because
she’s got like the trendy off-the-shoulder sweatshirt,
her Starbucks in hand. And one hour after delivery
she’s posing for a selfie ’cause you gotta post it on
Insta or it didn’t happen. And then my favorite
part of the whole thing is on top of the barn solar panels. (congregation laughs) But the thing you typically
see in the nativity is that it’s perfect. Mary never looks like she
just went through labor on the floor of a barn
without an epidural. (congregation laughs) Joseph is never stressed
about having his family travel and no place to stay. Jesus is never crying, ’cause
why would a newborn cry or do anything like that? And they’re just welcoming
in these shepherds who are the low-lifes of society and that they stink,
they’ve been handling sheep, they didn’t have any hand sanitizer and they’re letting ’em get
on their baby’s business. And that kinda feeds into this big image that’s presented to us
at Christmas, right? But Christmas is the
time of year with parties and food and presents, decorations, and joy and family gets along, and nobody’s mad at each other, and relationship are perfect, and everybody gets what they
want and it’s just great. But if you’re like me,
you look at the image that’s presented to you of Christmas, you look in your life and you say, “These do not line up,
because I got family drama “and I’ve got relationship
problems, I’m single,” or, “I wish I was single,”
or, “She’s about to leave,” or, “I’ve got this big
secret and my spouse thinks “things are great and I
don’t think I can tell them “because it would crush them. “But it’s ruining my life
and I probably deserve it. “And I’m anxious, I’m
depressed, I’m addicted, “I’m not good enough. “I’m giving my best and
it’s still not good enough “and I just wanna give up on everything.” So we come in a place like to ask, “Does Jesus have anything to
say to situations like that? “Does Jesus have anything
for people like me?” We’re calling this series Wreck the Halls, because what Jesus does His entire life is He turns all of our
assumptions about God upside down. So today, specifically, is for those of us that Christmas means alone. It’s for those that say
Christmas means grief, that Christmas means stress,
and maybe most importantly that Christmas is just
another reminder of God and, therefore, how far
away we are from Him and we’re not good enough. So honestly, if everything
in your life is perfect leading up to this Christmas
season, I got nothin’ for ya. But if there’s somethin’
in you this time of year that sees all the signs of Christmas and it all look so
great and you just wish, would give anything if your life matched the perception of Christmas
that was presented to you and that you think God
actually wants for you, we’re gonna experience
somethin’ good from God today. – [Man] Amen. – And we’re gonna save
the Christmas story itself for our Christmas services
in a couple of weeks. But for today and the next couple of weeks we’re gonna just pick some
stories from Jesus’ life to see how He turns all
of our presuppositions about God upside down, to show us why He was born,
why Christmas matters, and specifically why it
matters for people like us. So here’s today’s story. Matthew chapter 20. “Then the mother of James and John, “the son of Zebedee, came
to Jesus with her sons. “She knelt respectfully to ask a favor.” Now James and John are
two of Jesus’ 12 apostles, so they’re part of His inner circle. “‘What’s your request?'” he asked. “She replied, ‘In your kingdom, Jesus, “‘please let my two sons sit
in places of honor next to You, “‘one on your right and
the other on your left.'” Now I don’t like this already ’cause this is like the two
kids in the little league team who go to mom and say, complain to coach, “We’re not gettin’ enough PT.” I coach my kids in little kid basketball. I’m getting ready to coach the third one starting this season. Coached them all over the last few years and it’s a rec league,
they don’t keep score. So my theory as a coach
is I wanna do three things when we have a basketball practice. I want you to have fun most of all, ’cause it’s a sport, you gotta have fun, I want you to learn
somethin’ about basketball, and I wanna wear you out. Because, as a parent, if
I send my kid to practice, I want you to wear ’em out so much that they fall right
asleep when we get home. So a few years ago, maybe last year, a year before or something like that we had a basketball practice, it’s the six and seven-year old league and I think it goes fine, I wear ’em out, they seem to be enjoying it. I get home, put my kids
in bed, open my email and I have an email waiting for
me from the league director. I mean that’s kinda weird. He didn’t really email me except before and after the season. He and I go back a couple years. We get along good. But I see it wasn’t an email to me. He was copying me on and email
that he was writing in reply to the mom of a player on my team who had emailed him to
complain that my kid was pushing her kid around at practice, that I was neglectful
and I should be relieved of my duties as a coach. So I hit reply. (congregation laughs) And I responded, “Um,
no, actually your kid “has no coordination and stinks
at basketball in general. “The only pushing was when we were doing “a rebound drill that your
kid couldn’t comprehend “for the life of him. “So probably he looked
like he was getting pushed “when he should’ve been
grabbing the ball instead. “Maybe if he’d man up, “you could teach him to play basketball “instead of teaching him to whine to mommy “to get whatever he wants. “So to be a good parent you
may wanna spend more time “working with him on his athletics “’cause he’s an idiot, he’s
slow, he’s not athletic, “and he should quit basketball forever.” (congregation laughs) I’ll be honest, the only
reason I didn’t send that is ’cause the church
name is my email address. (all laugh) But I think that’s what Jesus
felt with James and John. Like, “Are you kidding me, guys? “You’re sending mom to talk to me. “Grow a pair and ask me yourself.” Just my interpretation of the Scripture. Verse 22. (congregation laughs) “But Jesus answered by saying to them, “‘You don’t know what you’re asking! “‘Are you able to drink
from the bitter cup “‘of suffering I’m about to drink?’ “‘Oh yeah,'” they replied, ‘We’re able.'” Now here’s what He means. Because right before the
story we’re reading today, like literally right before, not days before or not a week before, literally, the conversation
before this one goes like this, “Listen,” Jesus said, talking
to that inner circle of 12, “We’re going up to Jerusalem, “where the Son of Man will be betrayed. “They’ll sentence Him to die. “They will hand him over
to the Romans to be mocked, “flogged with a whip, and crucified.” So right after He says that, He asked, “Are you able to drink from the bitter cup “of suffering I’m about to drink?” “Oh, yeah, we’re able.” And I think Jesus has a face palm moment, where He’s like, “Who
selected these guys for me? “Not only are they
arrogant, they’re ignorant.” “Jesus told them, ‘You will indeed drink “‘drink from my bitter cup.'” Now this is actually a prediction
of what’s going to happen because if you keep
reading ahead in the Bible eventually you come to a book called Acts. And in chapter 12 of the Book of Acts you see James is executed by
the local political leader. And if you keep reading
the Scriptures after that, eventually you get to
the Book of Revelation where you learn that his
brother John, from this story, spends his old age in exile. “Jesus says, ‘But I have no right to say “‘who will sit on my right or on my left. “‘My Father has prepared those places “‘for the ones He’s chosen.'” Meaning, “Guys, stupid question. “My Father is gonna take care of that. “Let’s move on to what
we gotta do right now.” So basically James and John sent mommy to ask a request of Jesus
and it goes kinda like this. (“In My Feelings”) ♪ Kiki do you love me are you riding ♪ ♪ Say you’ll never ever
leave from beside me ♪ ♪ Cause I want you and I need you ♪ ♪ And I’m down for you always ♪ (hard thud) (congregation laughs) ♪ Are you riding ♪ ♪ Say you’ll never ever leave ♪ – [Carl] Wait for it. ♪ Cause I want you and I need you ♪ (congregation laughs) – That’s the mental
image I want you to have of James and John. Verse 24, “When the 10
other disciples heard “what James and John had
asked, they were indignant.” Now why do you think they were indignant? It wasn’t because they were so holy. They were saying, “You guys
shouldn’t have asked that.” They were jealous they
didn’t think to ask first. And here’s how I know this. All the time they’re gettin’ in trouble for arguing about which of them is best. I’ll just read you a couple of these. Luke 22, “Then the disciples
begin to argue among themselves “about who you would be
the greatest among them.” Luke 9, “Then His disciples began arguing “about which of them was the greatest.” Mark 9, “Jesus says,
‘Hey, what were you guys “‘talking about in the road,’
but they didn’t answer, “because they’ve been arguing “about which of them was the greatest.” So when James and John say, “Hey, Jesus, “when You’re like King
and Ruler over everything, “can we have the most
important seats of honor “to show we’re better
than everybody else?” The other 10 aren’t mad at
them for not being humble, they’re mad at ’em ’cause
they didn’t think of it first. Quick side note, do you know that when you go out of
your way to feed your ego, it’s not going to end well? Last time I was here,
I think it was August, a few days later Jesse
text me and he says, “Hey, Carl, the Facebook
comments about you are awesome. “People love you out here, man.” So I decided, because I’m a
genius, to go read the comments. (congregation laughs) Yeah, see, you’re smarter than I am. And there’s a couple of nice ones. But then I read this one. I’m over guest pastors and
want Pastor Jim back ASAP! (congregation laughs) And then I kept reading. I really miss Jim. Reply: Totally agree! Reply: Yes, missing Jim more each week. And then the one that capped it off: This weekend made me
miss him more than ever. (all laugh) I really wanted to show
that person’s name, but they wouldn’t let me, so. (congregation laughs) I love you, too. And I get what they’re saying, right? Like Jim’s our guy. We wanna get back to normal. I get all that. But I was reminded that
when you go out of your way to please your ego,
it’s not gonna end well. In fact, not too long after that, I was hanging out with Tommy,
the Lafayette worship leader, and I said, “Hey, what’s the feedback then “on the Flatirons Worship album?” He’s like, “I don’t know.” (chuckles) I’m like, “How do you not know? “You’re on the album.” And he said, “I don’t know, I
just decided a few years ago “I wasn’t really gonna
follow comments and likes “and sales all that stuff.” He goes, “That’s just a
rollercoaster I don’t wanna get on.” Then he looked at me in
the eye, and he goes, “You know what I mean?” I was like, “Totally.” (congregation laughs) Verse 25, “But Jesus
called them together,” and I think you can insert
here for a dad talk, “and He said, ‘Guys, you know
that the rulers in this world “‘lord it over their
people, and officials flaunt “‘their authority over those under them.'” And I think when Jesus says this they’re instantly thinking
of the Roman soldiers who occupied their land and
can do whatever they want. They’re thinking of the
tax collectors who legally can stop anybody at anytime for any reason and demand as much money as they want. They’re thinking of the religious leaders who took God’s law and added a bunch of meticulous laws on top of it. And if you don’t follow their
meticulous made-up laws, they ostracize you from
their religious community. And when you hear that from Jesus you think of people who have authority and use it at almost just to show you that they have authority, right? I mean this is the boss that makes you stay late to work on a project even though you’re not behind schedule and it’s not due for a couple of months. This is the coach that makes only you run sprints after practice. This is the teacher that seems to give you the hardest or extra assignments. This is the parent who
seems to make things up just to show you that they’re the parent that don’t even make you into
the adult you wanna become. And Jesus said, “You know
that, but,” verse 26, “but among you it’ll be different. “Whoever wants to be a leader among you “must be your servant, whoever
wants to be first among you “must be your slave.” Sometimes what happens, for me when I do this type of thing, is it doesn’t work out so hot for my kids because I’m like in this type of story. And, for example, I
think it was last week, I’m going over the Scripture, going over trying to figure out what God wants to say to us through this and my two oldest kids,
12-year-old girl, 10-year-old boy, gettin’ a fight about somethin’. And I don’t even remember what
it was but they were arguing, like they each wanted
that seat in the car, play with that thing or whatever it was and it’s not resolving itself. Like I kinda stay back for a minute and see if they can work it out. They’re not, it’s getting
worse, it’s gonna blow up. And so I pull my 12-year-old
daughter aside and I said, “You have to give your
brother what he wants,” ’cause I’ve just been
reading the Scripture. And she says, “What
are you talking about?” And I said, “Well, you’re
the only one of our kids “who’s been baptized
and said, ‘Hey, Jesus, “‘I’m placing faith in You
and I’m gonna follow You “‘no matter what, so You have
control over my whole life.'” And Jesus says, “If you
follow me, you’re not first, “you’re actually gonna be a servant, “‘you’re gonna be slave.'” “So that means from now on and forever “you gotta give your
brother whatever he wants “and just give him everything.” And she looked at me and says, “This is the dumbest thing
I’ve ever heard of in my life.” (congregation laughs) But that’s what He’s sayin’. And then He says, “Why,” verse 28, “for even the Son of
Man came not be served “but to serve others and give His life “as a ransom for many.” And that phrase Son of
Man is a phrase Jesus uses to refer to Himself. He’s saying, “Guys, I’m your leader. “Remember, I’m here to serve.” And that word ransom is
a word that was reserved in Jesus’ day specifically for the act of buying freedom for a slave. If someone was in slavery, you
could use this specific word to ransom them out of slavery, and they could not ever be
made of slave ever again because you had bought their life with it. So Jesus is saying, “This is what I’m going
to do with my life. “I’m going to die on the
cross, that’s grace.” And Jesus is talking here about grace. A true leader does whatever
it takes to show grace. And He says, “That’s what I came to do.” And the reason we talk
so much about grace here is because that is the
thing that separates Jesus from anything and anyone else. But here’s the problem with grace. Is grace can’t really be explained? Grace has to be experienced. I’m not really a video game guy because whenever I have done that, the video game I’m into takes over my life and so I just have to not do that. But early in my marriage,
several years ago, before we had kids, we had an Xbox and there was like one
game I played on it, it was called Ghost Recon. It was one of these shoot-em-up games. Like you had your
controller and your headset and you’re on teams of,
I don’t know, eight or 10 with people all over the world and you would fight each other and whoever killed each other first won. It was an awesome Christian game. You should go buy it for your kids. But it was a lot of fun
and I would play it a lot and tried to get my wife into it and she was like, “No,
thank you, I’m good.” At this stage of our life I was working kind of a typical day job, she had night class for grad
school sometimes on occasion. So one day she had night school
and I got home from work, didn’t have anything to
do so I jumped online. I’m playing this game
and my wife gets home a couple hours later and the front door is right by like the big
screen TV that I’m facing, she walks in and she sees
her husband of like two years facing this TV. I’ve got my headset on, I’ve
got the controller in my hand and I’m screaming at the top of my lungs, “There’s a sniper on the roof! “There’s a sniper on the roof! “Everybody look out!” And she looks at me with a look that says, “I married a winner.” (congregation laughs) So about two weeks later,
roles are kinda reverse, she didn’t have night school this night and I had some kind of meeting
so I’m getting home late and I’m getting close to our
front door of our townhouse and I hear yelling inside our house. And I’m really confused
because as far as I know she wasn’t gonna have people over, she didn’t like yell anyways
so like what’s going on, so I’m kinda like fumbling
to get the key in real quick. I walk in and there on
my couch is my wife. She is hunched over, controller
in hand, headset on her head and she sayin’, “I need
reinforcements by the dock! “Reinforcements by the dock!” And I just looked at her and say, “Girl, you are so hot right now.” (congregation laughs) But the video game
explained was one thing, the video game experienced
was something else entirely. And grace explained is one thing, but grace experienced is something else. So I’m gonna talk a little
bit about some implications of what Jesus said. And my hope today is not that you leave with a better understanding of grace, my prayer is that you leave
today having experienced grace and that you would feel His love that way. So the first thing I
wanna do is set us free from a lie in our culture. You have heard this lie,
you’ve probably said this lie, this lie sounds good, a lot
of Christians repeat this lie ’cause it sounds spiritual
and the lie goes like this: I need to forgive myself. Or I just can’t forgive myself. Or a Christian will say something like, “I know God’s forgiven me, “but I’m struggling to forgive myself.” I wanna explain why this is a lie. See, forgiveness always has a cost. I’ll explain it this way. Let’s say that you own
a cabin in Summit County and you come up to me and say, “Carl, I know you love to ski “and you can use my
cabin for free for a week “because I’m just that kind of person.” We’re just talking hypotheticals here. I’ll be in the lobby after service or you can reach me by email. But I experienced that for a week, then at the end of the week of skiing, as I’m backing out of the driveway, let’s say that I run over
the mailbox and destroy it. Pulverize it, it’s not salvageable. What can happen? One of two things. Either you can not forgive me, in which case I gotta
buy you a new mailbox, or you can forgive me
but if you forgive me, that means you have to buy a new mailbox. Either way somebody is
buying a new mailbox. Forgiveness always has a cost. Think about this. You’ve wondered, people have asked you, “Why did Jesus have to die on the cross? “Why didn’t God just snap His fingers “and we’re all forgiven?” This is why: because
forgiveness always has a cost. So in my sin, the definition of sin is me doing what I want to do instead of what I intrinsically whether I’ve ever been in
church or read the Bible, know what God says is best for me
and do what I want instead. Someone has to pay the cost for that. I can pay it. The good news is Jesus says,
“If you want, I’ll pay it. “If you just have faith
that I can save you “through my death on the cross.” Forgiveness always has a cost. So for the mailbox, if you
forgive me, you pay the cost; if you don’t forgive me, I pay the cost. Think of relationships,
someone hurts you deeply. If you don’t forgive them,
they pay the cost of that because they have forfeited
a relationship with you, at least a deep one. But if you do forgive them,
with proper boundaries, you can enter back in the relationship but you bear the cost of that because you still remember what they did even when they didn’t, you have to choose to forgive them continually when they’re not thinking about it and you have to say, “I’m
gonna bear the cost of this “so that we can have a relationship.” Either way someone pays the cost. And this is why the idea of
forgiving myself is impossible. Because forgiveness is
transferring the cost. So if I do something in my sin
that I know I shouldn’t do, that God says, “This is not
what leads to true life,” one of two things can happen: I can either give it to God and He can forgive me and it’s gone or I can try to forgive myself. But if I’m trying to forgive myself, forgiveness is transferring the cost, so forgiving yourself
means transferring the cost from yourself to yourself so
you’re still carrying the cost. It’s logically impossible. So when you hear people say
or you catch yourself saying, “I just wanna forgive myself. “I’m trying to forgive myself. “I just can’t forgive
myself,” that’s correct. You can’t forgive yourself. You even hear Christians say it, but it is a lie of the world. And the beauty of the cross is you don’t have to
try to forgive yourself because that’s what
Jesus did on the cross, because, “even the Son of
Man did not come to be served “but to serve others and give His life “as a ransom for many.” And here’s what this means. If you have been weighed
down by guilt and shame, Jesus wants to take
that from you right now. See, Satan wants you to believe that you need to do something in addition to what
Jesus has done for you. The Scriptures say Satan schemes. And one of his best schemes is this lie that sounds spiritual that
I need to forgive myself. No, you don’t. I just need to come to grips
with the fact that Jesus has forgiven me, He set
me free, He’s made me new, even that thing that I think
I should feel guilty for still I’m forgiven. Here’s the truth: Grace means it’s impossible
to forgive myself. You may need to figure out how
to walk in that forgiveness, that’s the Christian
life, but He and He alone will forgive you. Let me give you another
implication on what Jesus says. Here’s the lie, we believe on this one. What I do, and as I
talk you can substitute what I did or even what I will do, but what I do is who I am. See, a conversation, if you follow Jesus, you have people ask you stuff like this, “What does Jesus say about blank,” or, “What does the Bible say about blank,” and they’ll typically say
it with a cynical tone. And most of the time when people ask this they’re trying to justify something. Or they’re testing what
Jesus said about it because if Jesus says something different than what I feel, I’m out. Or if Jesus disagrees with my behavior, then He’s just judgmental
and I don’t wanna anything He has to offer anyway. In fact, the biggest conversation
I have that goes like this revolves around anything
having to do with sex. It could be someone saying,
“I think I’m wired this way,” or, “I don’t wanna be
married to this person “I made a commitment
to,” or, “I’m not married “but I wanna enjoy sex. “I’m just gonna sleep around “regardless of what God
says is best for me.” And when people talk about that, what I’ve come to believe is we can talk about that issue if you want, but the biggest question is not what does Jesus say about that; the biggest question is
who does Jesus say you are. So when you have a problem or struggle my first question is what’s your identity? Is it I’m black, I’m a
woman, I’m a husband, I’m a mom, I’m a student, I’m an athlete, or is your identity
first I’m a child of God? See, my identity cannot be pastor, it cannot be husband, or
dad, or son, or friend; my identity has to be child of God because if I get that here,
it changes everything. Grace doesn’t merely forgive
you; grace changes who you are. There’s two times in the Bible where the Father talks audibly to Jesus. One is before He begins His
ministry at His baptism, the other is before He goes to Jerusalem so He can be executed. And He has this experience
on top of a mountain that’s kind of weird, we
call it the transfiguration. He talks to Him two times. Both times the Father
says the exact same thing to His Son Jesus. He says, “You are my dearly loved Son, “and You bring me great joy.” Now think about this. What is the Father saying? He’s not saying, “Here’s
what you need to go do.” He’s telling Him, “Here’s who You are.” He’s says, “Here’s who You are,
here’s how I feel about You, “here’s what You do for me. “You’re my Son, I love
You, You bring me joy.” And here’s what’s so great. When you place faith in Jesus you are adopted into God’s family and He says the same thing about you. John 1 says, “You are His child.” 1 John 3 says, “God loves you.” And then Jesus’ most
famous story, Luke 15, he says, “Listen, when
any of God’s runaway kids “comes home for any reason at all, “the father don’t judge ’em or condemn ’em “or say, ‘You’re a sinner,
what took you so long, “‘he throws a big party.” And here’s the most important thing in my opinion that He says, he says, “There is more joy in heaven “over that one person,
than over anything else “that could ever happen in the world.” You bring God joy. See, I get it backwards. Religion says, “If I do
this, God’ll do this.” So I think if I love God,
then He gives me joy. But Jesus wrecks religion. He says, “No, no, no,
no, no, no, it’s grace.” So He loves me first. And the result, and this blows
my mind, is I bring Him joy. And listen, this is what real prayer is. Not real prayer, the deepest
kind of prayer I think. Because most prayer I
would call service prayers, what I do every day. I treat God like Santa Claus,
I go to him with my list and I say, “God, I need
You to heal this person. “I need You to bring peace to this person. “I need You fix that marriage. “I need You to comfort
them in their grief. “If You could do it by
Christmas, that’s be great. “Please deliver. “In Jesus’ name, Amen. “Have a good day.” Here’s what I’m learning as better prayer. Is to sit there in the quiet
and hold my crucible necklace and its heart, soul, mind,
strength, King lover, magi, warrior and just repeat, “God, You love me, I’m Your child, “I bring You joy. “God, to start today, I
just need to remind myself “that You love me, I’m Your son, “and I don’t get it, but I bring You joy. “And, God, I messed up yesterday. “I just blew up on the whole family “and it was horrible for everybody, “but, God, You love me
and I’m still Your child “and I bring You joy. “And, God, I’m reading
the Scriptures right now “and to be honest, God, I
don’t mean to insult You “but it’s just kinda dry for me, “so will you just remind me right now “that I’m Your child and You
love me and I bring You joy.” Religion says I love God
that He gives me joy, and God says, “No, no, no,
no, no, no, it’s I love you “and you bring me joy
and that’s called grace.” And the reason that’s possible
is because the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve others and give His life as a ransom for many. And that means I don’t have to perform, means my identity is secure, and the surface issues will work out ’cause I now know who I am. Here’s how I’d sum it up,
if you’re taking notes. Grace means that my identity is His child. And please lean into this. Because knowing who you
are changes everything. And I know there are people here who are so tired of performing. And you are talented
and you are hard working and you are a great people person but somewhere along the line you tied your performance
to His acceptance and that is a lie. Will you just please begin each day repeating until you believe it? I’m Your child, You love
me, I bring You joy. And some of you have a trail of broken relationships behind you and you blame each one on the other person but there is one common
denominator, and it is you. And the reality is you
cannot accept criticism because it would be to admit a fault and that just can’t be true
because that would destroy your perception of how you get to God. Can I ask you in humility
to realize your identity is not an approval from others but an acceptance from Christ? You are His child, He loves
you, you bring Him joy. Some of you are being destroyed by food and you stuff your face or
you’re starving yourself. And the problem isn’t the
food, the problem is in here. And will you just please
not walk out of this place until you understand He loves
you, and you are His child, and you just as you are bring Him joy. And some of you are
questioning your sexuality or your gender and you feel so alone and you wonder if your
life up to this point is a complete fake and you’re wondering if you need an entirely new social circle and just throw the whole thing to hell, can I ask you just to slow down and not make any drastic decisions until you experience in
here that He loves you, and you are His child,
and just the way you are you bring Him joy. – [Woman] Thank you, Jesus! – Because when you know who you are, (congregation applauds) when you know who you are
it changes everything. I know this stuff you
feel feels so important and it is, but go deeper. Because the Son of Man
did not come to be served, but to serve others and give
His life as a ransom for many. And so if you are new or
you’ve been around this place for years let me remind of this church is. Flatirons is simply a place
where we are trying to receive and walk in and live out grace. The author of Hebrews gives
us what I think can be like the mission statement for our church. He says, “Look after each other “so that none of you fails
to receive the grace of God.” You know why people join groups here? It’s so nobody misses the grace of God. You know why we, as believers, read the Scriptures every day? It’s so we don’t miss the grace of God. You know why hundreds of people volunteer at all these different campuses? So no one misses the grace of God. You know why a pastor takes a sabbatical? So nobody misses the grace of God. I’ve heard it said that
the church is a place where grace is kept on tap
and the bar is always open. Religion says I need to forgive myself. Religion says what I do is who I am. But Jesus wrecks religion. He says, “It’s not love me
and then I’ll give you joy. “It’s I love you, no strings attached, “and you give Me joy.” See, here’s my story,
is when I was a teenager I thought I was like good
’cause the main things they talked about church
is, “Don’t get drunk “and don’t go around having sex,” I avoided those two things
so I thought I was good and I didn’t realize at 15 years old that I was this broken punk, lost kid who is utterly broken
and alone on the inside. And in the town where I grew
up, Louisville, Kentucky, when I was 15 years old, I
walked in this really small, dark weird shaped building
and a guy got on stage and he said, “Hey, my name is Jim Burgen “and I’m gonna tell you about Jesus “and what Jesus means is grace.” And it wrecked me. And He’s never let go. And my prayer for you,
whatever environment you’re experiencing this
in, is that you experience God’s grace and it wrecks
you and it never lets you go. Can we keep being the
church at wrecks religion? Can we keep being the
church that Jesus uses to bring the awesome,
amazing life of Christ to this lost, hurting and broken world? Flatirons, can we
continue to be the church where grace is kept on tap
and the bar is always open? (faint voice talking) Love you, guys. Let’s pray. (congregation applauds) Yeah, we’re clappin’ because that’s it. So we’re not here to follow rules, we’re not here to jump through hoops, we’re not here to check
somethin’ off a box say we went to church; we’re
here ’cause we need a place where grace is kept on tap and
it’s free and it’s available and it’s for us. And, God, as has already been said today, some of us are having the
best time of their life, some of us the worst, but
no matter where we are on that spectrum what
we need is Your grace. And will You continue to
remind us of the good news that there’s nothing we can do to make You love us anymore, there’s nothing we can do to
make You love us any less. Thank You for wrecking religion, thank You for loving us first, thank You for this mind-blowing truth that we somehow, insignificant as we are, bring You the Creator and
Redeemer of the universe joy. We worship You, Jesus. Amen.
– Hallelujah!

Posted by Lewis Heart

This article has 5 comments

  1. Message starts at – 18:12
    O Come Let Us Adore Him by Hillsong Worship – 04:34
    Tremble by Mosaic MSC – 05:46
    103 (Oh My Soul) by Flatirons Music – 00:37
    Make You Feel My Love by Adele – 14:38
    Living Hope by Phil Wickham – 57:24

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