He looked every way – east, west, north, south. He forgot about god, though. He forgot to look up. Anytime, ladies and gentlemen, that we glance this way and that way and forget first of all to look up, we are getting ready to make a serious, serious error in our lives. We’re getting ready to commit cosmic treason, I’m talking about a major league sin when we think, “oh, oh! Is anyone looking? Okay, the coast is clear.” Think about your life. Quickly, the last four or five years. When you’ve acted before first of all looking to God, trouble happens.
It really does. And that’s what happened to our man Moses. Last summer Lisa and i went to the zoo and we saw this show with seals and one of the seals was named balboa. Balboa, you’re talking about a brilliant seal. He came up on the stage deal and the trainer was with balboa, boy, you’re talking about eye contact, he looked to her every single second.
There’s a second principle here, though. Difference makers not only are focused, but difference makers look to God before they act. See the progression? Difference makers, they’re focused. They live a very focused life, and because they live a very focused life, they also, and let me read verse 12 to you, look before they act, and Moses did not do this. Check out what Moses did. Verse 11, “one day after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were, watched them in all their labor.
He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people.” So what did he do? Verse 12. He didn’t look to God before he acted. That’s what a difference maker does; that’s the second principle. He did something else, “…glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian.” That’s not a difference maker. Moses, he glances this way and that way.
And if you don’t believe me, just look at me. You’re looking at the result of the sacrifices and blessings that God has brought forth in my life. You are looking at the results of the blessings. Because as a young person, I stayed away from that stuff. It would get me all messed up and wheels off. I didn’t smoke the weed. I didn’t have sex with all the girls. I did not do that. At a young age, I wanted to honor God. Now I was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I made that choice.
I played my 9th grade year and during my 9th grade year something significant happened in my life. This hot girl joined our church. Her name was Lisa. All the guys were like, “Man, have you seen this girl?!” And I was kind of intimidated to talk to her. A mutual friend of ours, David “Bubbles” Swindler, gave me a note one day. I opened the note up and it said, “Ed, call Lisa. She would love to hear from you.”
So I called Lisa on the phone and we talked. And the rest, as they say, is history. Bubbles helped us make that love connection, you know. David “Bubbles” Swindler, what a guy! I found out later that Lisa did not put Bubbles up to giving me the note. He just did that on his own. What’s so funny about it was that after Lisa and I had been talking to each other, dating for 3 months, I said, “Lisa, you might think I’m crazy, but I’m going to marry you one day.” She was like, “Marry me? I’m going to become a flight attendant and travel the world! Marriage?”
Here’s the first principle on becoming a difference maker. Difference makers live a focused life. Moses, at this point, did not live a focused life, but difference makers live a focused life. This Friday I went to the Byron nelson and i love to get up close to those professional golfers and see their eyes. You’re talking about focused. They are focused! They’ll nod to the crowd now and then and wave and tip the hats, but they are there for one thing and one thing only. That is to try to win the tournament.
You’ve got to have a focused lifestyle. Choose today who you’re going to serve. Are you going to serve Jesus Christ or are you going to live for the world? Don’t try to have one foot in Egypt and one foot with god’s people. You can’t do it. It’s too confusing. Difference makers don’t live like that. They put both feet in for the Lord and then they allow the Lord to take care of business in their lives.
I was so good in the 8th grade that the junior varsity coach from the high school plucked me from my junior high existence and put me on the Junior Varsity team—as an 8th grader! So here I am, an 8th grade kid, 13 years old, playing basketball for the largest high school in the state. And I’m hanging around with sophomores and juniors. That was a huge contrast! So at an early age, I had to make some major relational and behavioral decisions. For example, who would I run with and who would I stay away from?
What would I put in my body? What would I not put in my body? Where would I go? Where were the places I would not go? I was the only 8th grader in the entire junior high to play for Spring Valley and a lot of people knew about it. But I made a choice, as a young guy, to be very intentional about my friendships and relationships. I did not hang out with the popular crowd. I did not hang out with the jocks. I did not hang out with those people. I knew them. I was kind to them. But I only had two or three friends. And I felt a lot of loneliness going to the public schools I attended.
I went to very, very tough public schools. They were economically diverse and racially diverse. There were also some very tense times in the Deep South. So, I’m going to tell you something. If you’re a young guy or young girl; if you are single adult, God never asks you to sacrifice just for sacrifice sake. Never. Never. He never says, “Sacrifice, just because I want you to sacrifice and sacrifice.” Yes, God asks us to sacrifice. But remember, there are always blessings when we sacrifice.
But God has gotten out of every box I have tried to put him in. We’re a place that’s comfortable for those who are kicking tires and testing the waters and uncomfortable for Christians. “Man I can’t believe I have to walk so far in the parking lot just to get to church, man. I have to wait in this traffic. You mean I have to step up and serve, get outside myself? You mean it’s not about me?”
At Fellowship we have a table philosophy. That’s what the Bible says. The Bible is all about the food. Jesus said “I am the bread of life.” So as the pastor I’m the dude with the food. I need to serve the bread of life in a creative and compelling way. The Bible is the most dynamic book ever. So whenever we do something at Fellowship we think about a huge honkin’ table.
Picture four chairs, in your mind’s eye, around this table. One chair is the dude with the food or if a woma is speaking it would be dudette with the foodette. A healthy church will have three chairs around the pastor or speaker. In one chair a third of the church should be hell bound people. I’m talking about people who are saying hell yes. I’m talking about skirt chasing, cocaine snorting, and wheels off people.
Your church, if it’s healthy, should have about a third of the people showing up every weekend in that chair, if it’s a healthy church. The other chair, the other third should be made of up of those who have just stepped over the line, those who have just been ambushed by the grace of God, baby Bible believers, who still in their Pampers toddling around. That’s awesome. I’m talking about a healthy church.
I’m talking about Emmanuel, the one who saves us from the stairs, the God with us – Jesus. My son had a birthday and on his birthday I was suppose to fly to New York and speak. I was there for one night and so I took my son along with me. We got to New York and he was just amazed by the size and the scale of the Big Apple and all the people as you can imagine. And that night in our hotel room, he said something to me that really shocked me.
He said, “Dad, do you know what I want?” I’m thinking, “Oh yeah, tomorrow’s your birthday. I know what you want. You want me to take you to Nike town and spend a lot of money on all the Nike stuff.” He said, “Dad, do you know what I want?” I said, “What do you want?” He said, “I want to buy presents for Mom, Lee Beth, Laurie, and Landra.” I thought, “Wow. How crazy is that? The birthday boy wants to buy presents for his family?” Then I thought, “That’s Christmas!”
God walked down the staircase of heaven with a baby in his arms. He’s given us in this indescribable gift. Jesus didn’t stay in the crib. He crawled out of the crib, performed perfectly, died sacrificially, rose bodily, and now Jesus is standing at the bottom of the stairs with his nail pierced hands. He’s standing right there at the Stairmaster. He’s standing as we’re trying to build our way to heaven. And he’s saying, “I give you grace. I give you forgiveness. I give you salvation. I give you power. I give you a clear conscience. I give you mercy. I give you these gifts.”
A lot of people have stinking thinking. Their thinking is all jacked up. Well Romans 12:2 tells me if I uncover and allow God to cover me, my mind can be transformed, I will start thinking right. And when I think right, when I feed on the Word, then I will start acting right. And when I start acting right, I will start living and behaving right. Confession and repentance.
So often we sin retail and confess wholesale. We will sin specifically and confess generally. I challenge you to write out your prayers. And many times I look back at my journal, and I will see when I do the confession part my writing gets a little bit sloppy and small and I begin to kind of write real fast and I don’t want anyone to read it, you know. But when I’m asking for stuff, that’s in bold print, beautiful penmanship.
You begin, though, this daily confession; you begin this daily repentance, after you’ve been through the process of metamorphosis, you will not believe what will happen. Well, you know what? I kind of left you hanging on David’s story. You might be going, “Why did David come clean? That is kind of strange. I mean, all of the sudden he is writing this Psalm and everything is tough and then all of the sudden he confessed.
Why did he confess after a year of playing the cover up game?” Well you know what happened to David? David got Nathanized. There was a guy that worked for him named Nathan and Nathan confronted him in love and said, “King, you’re in sin.” You’re talking about an encouraging sympathizer. Nathan empathized with him and spoke the truth in love.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we walk around with ear muffs on or blinders. I’m not suggesting that. But I am suggesting that there is a direct correlation between what we watch and what we listen to and our behavior. The average student between the 7th and the 12th grade listens to 10,500 hours of music. That’s 437.5 straight days of just listening to music!
“Well, man, I just listen to the music, I don’t listen to the lyrics. It’s not affecting me.” Oh, really? That would be like me saying, “Well, I could eat 50 Baby Ruths a day and I’m not going to gain weight.” You know, one a week, I’m okay. Fifty a day? Man, that’s going to mess me up!
So we need to think about the diet, what we’re watching—the reality based television shows and all of this stuff. What’s it about? What’s it doing for us? And I’ve got to take television down, because, generally speaking, television and the arts and entertainment is not underlined and highlighting those transcendent values taught and modeled in the home.
Government. How is Government doing? Yeah, there are some great men and women who are leading. I know that. How is government doing in highlighting and underlining those transcendent values? You’ve got judges pushing for gay marriages. You’ve got other people saying that we should take the lives of unborn children. You’ve got people removing prayer from schools. You’ve got the government totally handcuffing great teachers who can’t even make decisions about what to talk about in the classroom or how to discipline their children. I’ve got to take that down.
Sex is for the marriage bed. It’s a life-uniting act in a life-uniting covenant. Right thinking leads to right living. Here’s what a father said to his son in Proverbs. And I’m going to warn you, this is pretty explicit. But again, if you have a problem, don’t send me email. I don’t read email anyway. Try some knee-mail and talk to God about it, because some of you got some funk on you.
You’ve got some stuff on you that keeps you all nervous and freaky when anybody talks about sex, especially in church. And I’m going to tell you why you think that way in a second. Proverbs 5:15-23, “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? (Is he talking about what I’m thinking he’s talking about? Yeah!) Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love.
Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man’s wife? For a man’s ways are in full view of the LORD, and He examines all his paths. The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.” Here’s what a husband and wife were talking about on their wedding night. Again, this is in the Bible. I’m just reading God’s Word—the B-I-B-L-E, that’s the book for me. That’s the sexual book for me.