Well, the dogmatic person is kind of like the rhino. He or she just enters the maze and knocks down ten fences and a windmill and doesn’t even really realize it or understand it. They’re just dogmatic. Who is dogmatic in the Bible? How about the Apostle Paul before he became a Christ follower? Remember Paul? Man, before this guy knew Jesus his name was Saul and he was killing Christians. He was an accomplice to a murder. He thought his way was the only way, and he abused all these folks. And then one day, he met Jesus face to face and he was tenderized by the work of the Holy Spirit. God totally changed his life.
Here’s another one, and you’ll love this last one we talk about. The procrastinator. “Well, Ed, you know I’m not, you know I’m not sure I’m a procrastinator. Maybe I’ll decide in a couple of weeks whether or not I am.” Procrastinators wait to the last minute, you know. They put things off. Sometimes they do that because of fear. Other times they do it because of laziness. They just put things off. “Well, tomorrow I’ll work on my marriage. You know, tomorrow I’ll get right with God. Tomorrow I’ll get involved at Fellowship Church. Tomorrow I’ll join the church. Tomorrow I’ll begin to handle my finances in a Godly way, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.”
Ed Young, author of over 14 books, the most recent, “Sexperiment,” becoming a New York Times best-seller, is now a guest contributor to the Christian Post. According to the website, the Christian Post is the nation’s most compressive site for Christian news, and frequently covers news about Ed Young and his Fellowship Church.
One interesting post features Ed Young’s 10 Commandments of Purity. A list that Ed Young and wife Lisa put together to as he puts it, “stay far away from the edge and ledge of temptation.” The list is a practical guide for any married couple, and offers simple relationship tips. Take a look at the entire list and article on the Christian Post’s website.
And if you can describe my character at that point, it was frustration. I wanted to play so badly. Frustration. You’re going to have big time frustration spiritually, big time frustration physically, emotionally, relationally, if you go into stage two and stage three. Pray for strength. Keep yourself out of situations that cause you to stumble. Date in groups. Concentrate on the entree level knowing you’re saving yourself until one day you will get the dessert in the Super Bowl, and that’s great. That’s great.
What if though, you’re into level two, three or you’re having sex outside of marriage right now? I know many of you are. It’s time to confess, and the word confess means to tell the truth about your condition, to turn from your sins and to say, “From this day forward, I am going to live a life of purity”. God can replenish and rebuild all the years the locusts have eaten. He can reconstruct shattered lives, but only if you’ll let Him. If you want the sexual aspect of your marriage to really be blessed, abstain until marriage. It’s for our best.
To sum up what I’m talking about, I want to relate to you a story that Josh McDowell told in his book “Why Wait?” McDowell says that a little two year old was toddling through the kitchen and he sees a butcher knife in the dishwasher. He pulls the butcher knife out by the blade. He’s grasping the blade tightly and he walks into the den. His father sees it, “Oh! Junior! ” and he attempts to pull the blade from the infant’s fingers. Then this father remembers, “I could maim him for life. I could damage him. I could cut an artery”, so he sits down and goes, “Come here, son.
Let daddy hold the knife. Please let daddy hold the knife”, and the little toddler finally unclenches his fist and the father gently takes the knife from the toddler and the toddler gives the knife to the father he trusts.
So, all we have to do is think about the cross and we should run to forgive our spouse. All we have to do is think about the cross and we should, if we have violated our spouse, say those phrases that are so dynamic indeed: “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Will you forgive me? Will you forgive me?”
Fellowship Church Grapevine said I like that word give — it’s right in the middle of forgiveness. Forgive. In the book of Ephesians there’s a verse that is very, very potent. It is 4:32. It says, “Be kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you .” This verse is powerful.
My father recited that verse to Lisa and me when he married us 20 years ago. He said, “I want you guys to build your marriage, your home, on Ephesians 4:32.”
Ed Young Fellowship says it’s the KFC verse. K-F-C. K – Kindness, F – Forgiveness, C – It’s all about Christ. KFC. Every time I conduct a marriage, I also recite Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another.” Why? Because, “God through Christ has forgiven you.”
Maybe you’re asking, “Well, you mean I should forgive my spouse? Why should I forgive my spouse, Ed Young?” The simple reason is because Jesus commanded it.
All you have to do is look at the cross, the vertical aspect of it and the horizontal aspect of it. If I have unforgiveness in my heart it will be like a blockade between myself and my spouse. It will also hinder my prayers before God. What if Jesus held grudges? Have you ever thought about that? What if Jesus held a grudge against me?
What if tomorrow, when I have a time of confession, as I pray my prayers to the Lord, Jesus said to me, “Well Ed, last week you did so and so and I’m still mad at you for that. I’m just not going to forgive you, because that really hurt me and I just don’t feel like it.” Jesus doesn’t play those games. If we’re sincere, if we repent, if we confess — Bam! He forgives. We should do the same thing in our marriages.
Romans 12:19. “Do not take revenge my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written, it is mine to avenge, I will repay says the Lord.” Now when I take revenge, I do it myself. But when I do the avenge thing and allow God room, God will take it up. God does it, God settles the score, God pays them back, and there will be a payback some day. It is going to happen. Ed Young that is what David did. David just back up and he said in I Samuel 24 that the Lord would do his work for him. And sure enough, God took care of Saul. Just read it. He took care of him and He will take care of your adversary and your enemy and my adversary and my enemy.
Do you want to deepen your faith? Do you want to swim in that real, real cold water that is really deep? Well, just start to do this stuff. Start hitting the deck, watching the crowd, and hiring the lawyer because you can’t do this stuff just bouncing around in the baby pool spiritually. No, no, no. You have got to walk on the edge. Ed Young Ministry you have got to pray like you have never prayed. You have got to read the Bible like you have never read it. You have got to worship like you have never worshipped. You have got to live the stuff out.
But I ask you. Who is going to break the cycle of relational hostility? Who? Our world is going nuts. Relationships start out with such promise. Then ego and anger and animosity and revenge get in the way. The guns come out, the knives are drawn. Or maybe in the suburbs we do it a little differently. We use attorneys to do our battles for us, don’t we? Who is going to break it? It has got to be you. It has got to me be. If we know Christ personally, we have the ultimate example. Jesus returned our evil with good. We must return other’s evil with good.
But they were confident. Where did that come from? Verses 16 and 17. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied, now check this response out, they replied, “We are not worried about what will happen to us.
Well, according to Ed Young, the presidential election is less than one year away and the candidates are already hot on the campaign trail. I love to sit back and watch the different strategies that the contenders use as they try to win the number one office in the nation. Some use the pit bull strategy. They attack their opponents, ripping them apart limb from limb. Others use the nice guy strategy, or nice girl strategy. They rise above the fray, no mud slinging. They just smile and agree with everybody. After awhile, though, all the candidates have to do one thing, they have to press the flesh. They have to get out there and walk into the crowd, shake the hands and kiss the babies because it is part of running for a political office. – Ed Young Ministry.
There is one campaign strategy, though, that always amazes me. It is a strategy that we will see played out hundreds and hundreds of times over the next eleven months by Bill Clinton, Bob Dole and by a host of other men and women. It is popularly known as the identification strategy. You have seen it. A limousine will scream to a stop in front of McDonalds, our candidate will jump out of the limo surrounded by Rayban-wearing secret service agents. He will walk into the golden arches and people will applaud enthusiastically. He will walk behind the counter and while the minicams are filming and the press are taking flash pictures, he will make small talk with the employees, he will don a McDonald’s smock and hat, he will clumsily attempt to flip burgers, package fries and put together Happy Meals. When the TV lights dim he will flash one last million dollar smile, rush out the door into the limousine which will screech off to the next campaign stop. You have seen it and you will see it. It might be at the McDonalds or it might be on an assembly line in Detroit, Michigan or in a textile plant in Greenville, North Carolina, but you will see candidates doing the identification thing.
They had a vision for this tree. They said, “Build us a tree house, Dad. You are the man, Dad. Build us a tree house.” I had the vision virus. I have been in Home Depot one time in my life.
Yes, we are commanded to corporately worship God, but true life change takes place in a small group. We want to grow smaller while we grow larger. “Well, Ed, they might ask me a question about the Bible. I don’t know that much about the Bible. They might put me on the spot.” No, they won’t. It is a cool deal, a casual deal but a life changing deal. And we have got to connect before the crises of life hit us. We have to connect because of community. We have to connect because of the loneliness that we are feeling. We have to connect because of what we will bring to the small group table.
If you are lonely, for the most part you are lazy. If you are lonely, get outside of yourself. I can’t take you and grab you but the dress or the shirt and drag you into Home Teams.
Number two. Secure some symbols of significance that point you to express your love to God. I brought some from my office which do that in my life. These are replicas of the nails that were used to fasten Christ’s body to the cross. They were given to me by one of our founding members years ago. I have these on my desk and they always remind me that it is by grace I am saved, something I do not deserve. They remind me that it was my sins that crucified my Lord. On my best day, I don’t deserve what He did for me. Nails.
Something else is this journal. I have been journaling my prayers since I have been 18 years of age. Every time I see these journals stacked up in my library, I think about the faithfulness of God. God has spoken to me, He has answered my prayers.
Front page of the Egyptian times…the man murdered and a picture of Moses. They’re going after him now. The Hebrews turn their back on him. The Egyptians want to kill him. He’s fearful; he’s afraid and he turns and he does the Carl Lewis thing…he’s running. The bible says he goes to a place called Midian. You know where Midian is? Read it right there. Sinai peninsula. Desert. It’s not a place for a subdivision or a multi-family dwelling place.
You wouldn’t want to live in the desert. However, if you try to cover your sin, if you try to hide it, it always leads to a desert if you don’t deal with it. Difference makers live a focused life, difference makers look to God before they act, difference makers locate their sin and they tell the truth about their sins. “why?” You ask. You’re thinking, “ed, nice outline. But why? Why?”
He gets scared. Look down in verse 14. Verse 14 says, “then Moses was afraid and thought, what I did must have become known.” Here’s a situation, Moses kills the Egyptian. He buries him in a shallow grave and he walks out the next day thinking, “hey, I’m above all. No one can get me,” and he sees two of his own people kind of going after it and he says, “guys, break it up. Break it up!” And one of the Hebrews looks at Moses, “hey, Moses (kind of pushes him) you’re going to kill me like you killed that Egyptian?” Fear.
They found out! Moses was thinking, “how in the world did anyone see? I looked this way and that way. How did they find out?” Here’s what I believe happened. He hastily buried this Egyptian in this very shallow grave and at night the winds began to blow, the sands shifted and I bet you that Egyptian toes began to stick out from the sand and they saw it and knew that Moses had committed murder.