The Pay Off Principle is another one. That’s a desire for health. There is going to be a pay off on this side of the grave, the blessings of living right. But the big pay off is on the next side of the grave in heaven. Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
The No-Brainer Principle
The last one is the No-Brainer Principle. That is the desire to do what is right. Psalm 40:8, “I desire to do your will, O my God” The Christian life is the only way to live. If it was not the only way to live, I would not live it. It works. Talk to someone who has been walking with the Lord two, three or five decades. See their lives. See their blessings. See the pay-offs. See the endurance. It’s unbelievable.
We don’t make deals with God. Let me say that again. We don’t make deals with God. I say that against a backdrop of what Jerry Jones just said. “I made a deal with the Big Guy Upstairs.” We don’t make deals with God; God makes deals with us. We, though don’t make deals with God. It’s very important that you understand that. It’s very logical. You’re like, OK, I can understand that. Then quickly we jump to Jerry Jones and go, “The audacity of Jerry Jones saying he is gonna make a deal. He’s made a deal with the Man Upstairs, the Big Guy Upstairs. I think that is horrible!”
Be careful. Aaaah! I want to say that. Ed, be careful! We’ve all made deals with God. Look to your right, look to your left, look up here. You’re looking at people who have made deals with God. I’d bet you some money one of the first prayers you ever prayed was a deal-making prayer.
You’re in the third grade, it’s test time. You don’t know up from down. You’re like, “Lord, just give me a glimpse of Laura Patton’s paper! She’s right in front of me. She makes straight As and Lord, if you give me that glimpse I won’t cuss for like two months!”
You’re in high school. “Lord, just give me 10 minutes with this girl because I can ask her out. And if she says yes, God, I’m not gonna argue with my sisters for this whole year. Please, God!”
Then we get older, “Lord, when the management team emerges from the board room I pray they offer me this job. And I pray the compensation is massive and the perks are unbelievable and that office, that corner office, Lord, you know I want it. And God, if you give this to me I’ll tithe to Fellowship Church.”
All those sound familiar, don’t they? What are we doing? We’re making deals with God! “God, I know what’s best for me. I tell you what, you’re in my pocket and I’ll take you out of my pocket when I need you and you perform. All right! I got the job! I talked to the girl. All right! I saw Laura Patton’s paper. Thank you, God. Good boy!” Put him away.
“God, I’m gonna write my will for my life. I know what’s best. I mean, seriously. I know what’s best. You’re the detached deity, you’re the Man Upstairs, and I’m gonna cut a deal with you. I know what’s best so I’m gonna write out my plans and I will tell you what, God. I’m gonna need you so just initial this page right here, yeah. OK, that’s right. OK, thank you. I’ll need ya in a little while.” We make deals, don’t we? With God. We all make deals with God. Negotiating.
Let’s talk about Jerry Jones. What would Jesus say to Jerry Jones. Jerry was born in Los Angeles, California. Jerry grew up in Arkansas. He was co-captain of 1964 National Championship Arkansas Razorback football team. From there he started his own company. He got into, as we say around here, the ‘oil binness.’ Made a fortune. In 1989 he was worth $150 million. That’s no chump change. He leveraged it all for, I mean a deal that is (looking back) ridiculous! He bought America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys, for $150 million.
A lot of people were up in arms after this deal. The way he handled Tom Landry. The way a lot of people said he behaved. The Herschel Walker trade. Bringing in Jimmy Johnson. Making deals for the triplets, Troy, Michael, and Emmet. Always making deals. Now the Cowboys have turned into a $1.6-1.7 billion team. Not a bad investment. $150 million now, $1.6-1.7 billion! Jerry Jones, who was once worth $150 million is now worth $2.7 billion. Whoa!
Then he orchestrated another deal as he built this beautiful, as Jerry calls it, “Stadgium.” Have you been to the stadgium? I have, a couple of times. I’ve never seen anything like it! Relatives visit. “Take us by the stadgium!” and we do. Whoa! Oooh! Ahhh! It’s crazy.
Here’s some church trivia, Fellowship trivia. Jerry Jones attended Fellowship Church a year after he bought the Cowboys. He walked onstage and I interviewed him for an entire message, how about that? He was gracious, nice, gave some really good insight about his life. Some of his kids have attended off and on at Fellowship. Do I know Jerry Jones? Am I close to him? Do we hang out? No. Met him several times, sat down and talked with him on the stage, that’s it.
I’m not here to slam celebrities during this series. I’m not gonna do that. God is the judge. I don’t know if Jerry is a Christ-follower or not. I pray so. I don’t know if many of you here are a Christ-follower or not. But back to Jerry.
If I could sum up Jerry’s life in one word it would be the word ‘deal.’ He is a deal maker, isn’t he? Some are saying, “Oh, Jerry Jones. Owner and general manager. He needs to fire himself!” I don’t know if he needs to fire himself. He can do what he wants to do. He owns the team. We can say that all day and all night. He’s obviously super-talented, articulate. He’s a leader of leaders. So whether you agree with what he does or not that’s your deal and that’s my deal. Jesus would say, I think, when he would talk to Jerry Jones about the deal. Jesus is about the deal! God is about the deal.
What would Jesus say to Jerry Jones, the owner and the general manager of America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys. Good question. Over the next several weeks we’re going to be talking about some cultural icons. What would Jesus say to Kim Kardashian? What would he say to LeBron James? What would he say to Lance Armstrong? What would he say to Jay-Z, to Bill Maher? Great questions. Now some might be going, “Ed Young, that’s awful presumptuous of you to think that you know what Jesus would say to these personalities.” I understand your line of thinking but in reality I know pretty much down to the letter what Jesus would say, because he talked so often to people like these individuals throughout the Bible.
Back in the day there was a celebrity culture. Maybe not to the level that we have it in 2013 but there was definitely celebrity culture. Jesus said some things, some direct things, to people like we’re gonna talk about.
We love celebrities. We are celebrity-sick in our world. We like to see these people, and I’ve often wondered why I like to watch celebrities or read about celebrities. Have you ever thought about that? I think on one level when we see them, the way they act, the way they spend, the way they travel, what they say, do, I think in a way we say to ourselves, “I would never, ever act like she does. I would never spend my money like him. I would never do that. Or have that tryst. Or betray someone like that.” In a weird way it makes us feel better about ourselves. Yeah, I would not act the way they do. I’m better. It makes me feel that way. But as I search my soul and as I search my heart, and in this series as you prayerfully search your soul and your heart, I think we’ll see a lot of ourselves in these people. In LeBron James? Yeah. Lance Armstrong? Yeah. Kim Kardashian? Yeah. Jerry Jones?! Yes!
They act and behave and dance on a world stage. We don’t. Everything they do is exaggerated. Our stuff, our dealings aren’t. I would argue that they are a reflection of you and me. So this series is really a high-conviction-driven series. Yeah, we’ll learn about celebrities, that’s cool. We will see what Jesus would say to them. But also we’re gonna say what Jesus is gonna say to you and to me.
When you are doing that, when you are straddling something, you can get injured. This guy is living a benign life, because he is straddling life and God doesn’t work that way. People are watching you and me.
I talked to a guy at my gym, a great Christian guy, and he looked at me and out of the blue, I don’t even know why he said it, but now I know, he said, “Ed, you know what? I am living my life like it’s on video, man.”
I said, “I like that.” We are on video. People are watching you and me. “Oh, they are not watching me.” Yes, they are. Your children are watching you, your spouse, people you work out with, people around the neighborhood, people at the office, your coaches, your teammates, your cousins are watching you. They are watching you. You can have a part in them coming to know Christ, because people would rather see a sermon than hear one.
“Hey, young man, see that guy who is so lonely and greedy? See that guy who is hooked on this or hooked on that? It is just this once. It is just this one time. Why not taste a little bit of honey? Why not frequent that website? Why not go to that club? Why not hang out with those people? Why not have that weekend in Vegas? Because after all, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right? You’re not going to end up broke. You’re not going to end up destitute. You’re not going to end up all messed up. It is just a little bit of honey. Come on, a little bit of honey. Ask Samson. Ask Samson.”
You go down to Timnah, you look around and what’s going to happen? You’re going to get found. I mean, you hang out with the wrong people, they’re going to take you to the wrong places and then ultimately you’ll end up breaking God’s principles and missing his purpose for your life.
So this talk today is a warning; it is a wake-up call to everyone, especially those of us who have phenomenal potential. And the last time I checked, that’s everyone.
Because Ephesians 5:14, the alarm verse, do you know what it says? Wake up sleeper. “Wake up, o sleeper!”
And a lot of us are awake physically, we’re on point. I’m up. I’m ready. Spiritually though, maybe morally, maybe parentally, we’ve gone down to Timnah. What do we say? “I’m going to lie down and rest. I’m going to lie down and take a nap.” And then all of the sudden three hours later we wake up, “Whoa, I guess I’ve been asleep!”
That’s a desire to motivate. Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds.” I sing this song all the time. I learned it as a kid: “This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.”
Verse two. “Hide it under a bushel, no! I’m gonna let it shine.” I love that. That is what Jesus was saying. We have got to let our light shine. I talked to a guy a couple of years ago, who said, “Ed, I am a believer, but I just don’t want to tell others about it. I don’t want to go public.”
I said, “But you are a public figure.” He said, “Yes, but if I go public, I might mess up.” Here is this guy’s problem. He didn’t get it. He had one foot in the church and one foot in the world.
Say the word “down” with me. I want to show you how to waste your life today. I want to show you how to miss your potential today as we look at the biblical body builder. The Bible says Samson went down to Timnah.
What is he doing down at Timnah? Timnah is a Philistine city. Timnah is a place of the pagans. Timnah is a place where nothing good happens. Samson, though, went down to Timnah. And when we go down Timnah we’re always going to face that Timnahtation, right? Well the Scripture keeps going.
“Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman.”
Samson knew the score. He knew the situation. God had said countless times, “Don’t associate with ungodly people.” It is just like St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:14. Paul said, “Don’t be unequally yoked with nonbelievers.” Because if you hook up with nonbelievers, if you date nonbelievers, if you fall in love with nonbelievers, if you marry nonbelievers, if you crank out some kids and you’re married to a nonbeliever, it is not going to be a harmonious thing. It is going to be full of dissonance. It is going to be full of depression and it is going to be full of wasted potential.
God is not being mean-spirited. It is not spiritual apartheid. God has our best interests in mind. God wants us to reach our potential. And sunshine, Samson is playing around with fire when he went down to Timnah. So he went down, he went away from where God wanted him to go.
So he sees this woman and here is something that is really sad. He tells his parents about this woman. He just gets in their face and tells them what to do.
So today’s talk really is for those of us here who have unlimited potential. What does potential mean? It means you have not done anything yet. Potential means you have not done jack yet. It does, though, mean that God has something unbelievable in store for your life. And that is why, quite frankly, the devil tries to attack you and me.
He sees the potential in our life. He sees what we can be. He sees what could happen if we really reached our potential.
Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to get to church on Sunday morning? Have you ever wondered that? It is tough even for me to get to church on Sunday morning. We’re fighting the devil. It is much easier for us to go to work on Monday than for us to get to worship service on Sunday. Have you noticed that? It is the amazing.
This morning when Lisa and I woke up, the kids were fighting over pizza in our house. 7:30 a.m., a pizza fight. And we made it, pizza fight and all.
But the real reason is the devil does not want you to hear what God has for you. The devil does not want you to reach your God given potential.
Samson had potential. His name meant sunshine. Maybe his parents called him Sonny. His parents were godly people. They were people who loved him. They were people who wanted the best for him. They were people that everyone in the community knew about because of their love and devotion to God himself.
If you have your Bibles turn now to the Book of Judges. Now this is a very, very interesting book. Judges 14:1. As you read this, it really doesn’t seem that powerful. But as you really unpack it, it sort of tells the life story of the biblical body builder.
Another goal is, I want to come along side you and challenge you from Scripture. I want to basically tell you what God’s word says about discipline. What’s the skinny on the subject? What’s the deal? Because my opinion is fine and dandy, but what the Bible says, that is the ultimate.
Also, I want you to understand that God wants you to win. God wants your family to score touchdown after touchdown. He wants you to be a success. He has an amazing season planned for every family here. I don’t care if you’re in a single parent family, a blended family, or the typical nuclear family with 2.3 children, God has great stuff in store for you.
At this time though, I’m going to do something that I’ve never done before. I’m going to make you a promise. I’ll promise you that over the next 25 minutes or so I’m going to exhaust this subject on discipline. I’m going to tell you everything I know from the Bible regarding discipline. In other words, when you leave Fellowship Church in a few moments you’ll have the tools you need to be the kind of parent that God wants you to be. You might be going, “Well, man, Ed you’re going to do that in 25 minutes? I thought you knew more about discipline than that!” Well, just trust me. Just trust me today.
Whenever we watch football, what do we do? We watch it in person or we watch television. We basically stare at a football field. And we’ll spend large blocks of time just starring at a football field over the next three or four months.