To Touch Eternity
So, we can touch eternity. Also, this: we can live out true and lasting joy. I touched on it earlier. We can live out the joy of our salvation. As we get involved, as we’re blessed, we will grow and mature the greatest. People ask me all the time, “Ed, how can I grow the most?” Well, you’ve got to study the Bible. You’ve got to know the Bible.
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Listen very, very carefully. If you are not involved in a ministry here, if you are not involved in a ministry here, it’s your time to fill this out. I can’t force you. You just have to do it. But prayerfully, based on this teaching, you will fill it out.
Just write out your name, telephone number, how much you bench press, your 40-yard dash time, all that stuff. Write that down—I’m kidding about that—and just read through an area of ministry that resonates with you, maybe it’s music/drama/technical, maybe it’s Fellowship Bookstore, maybe it’s Connection Classes, maybe it’s Building Services, maybe It’s Missions. I don’t know.
I don’t know. Just check it off. Now, after you’ve filled it out and checked off the appropriate box, just hold it. Do not put it in the offering plate when it’s passed in a couple of moments. Do not. I repeat, do not. Just hold it.
That’s part of it. But the most important part is getting involved. That’s why Jesus said: don’t just talk it, do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. That’s why the half-brother of Jesus said: Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. We’re talking about A-C-T (clap, clap, clap) I-O-N (clap, clap, clap). Action, action, God wants action. I could close down right now and we could do a little prayer, take a little offering, sing a little song, do some announcements and then we could just cruise.
But this message is going to end early—it’s only like noon on my watch. I ended early for a reason. This is going to be an interactive message. You know, everything these days is interactive. Take out your worship guide and then take out an insert that says Game Day. Here’s what I want you to do.
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?”
But I persisted and pursued and now she’s my wife. We’ve been married for 24 years. That was quite an experience.
So during that time, I was playing more and more basketball. I had an opportunity after my sophomore year to attend an invitation only basketball camp. At this camp, the best players in the east converged in a small town in Georgia—Millersville. 250 college scouts were there to watch us play five games a day. I was fortunate enough to have several good games, so a lot of schools began to talk to me: Norte Dame, NC State, Florida, Florida State, Oregon, etc.
Maybe you’re thinking, “If I had gone out with that person or if I had gone to that school or if I had worked harder at that talent or if I would have taken that job or if I would have played for that team. Would have, could have, should have.”
And a lot of us live in what I call “scenario sickness.” And it’s a real sickness these days, always playing out these scenarios of what could have happened, what should have happened. “If I had not blown by knee out in the 9th grade I would be in the NBA or NFL.” We have all of these things that we talk about.
But I believe true opportunity is something that emerges from the heart of God. God is a God of opportunity. And it’s one of the ways he expresses his love to all of us. I believe as a parent we have different love languages, different ways that we communicate our love and our care and our compassion to our kids. And I know a lot of kids who are gift givers, a lot of parents like to hug their kids, a lot of parents like to give words of affirmation. And that’s fine and dandy. Some parents, though, tell and show their kids that they love them by giving them opportunities.
God is a perfect God. He is our perfect heavenly parent. He does all of those things. But I think as believers sometimes we miss the fact that our great God is into opportunity. He gives all of us opportunity after opportunity after opportunity because he wants our best in mind.
Ask yourselves, married couples, are you being creative? Weekly are you being creative in the romantic realm of the relationship? Are you dating your spouse? Are you spending time with your spouse? The second operative word when I talked with Dean and Carolyn is sensitivity. Dean and Carolyn are sensitive to God. They have a dynamic relationship with the Lord. Because of that, look at their marriage. They are sensitive to each other and the sensitivity comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. The moment that we receive Christ, He puts the Holy Spirit inside our lives. The Holy Spirit says that if we are sensitive to Him, He will show us how to be sensitive to each other. Ask yourselves this question. Am I being sensitive to God and to my spouse?
Now Mark and Libba have been married eight years. Things have changed for them. Their operative word is objectivity. From teaching and from some leadership, they have been able to prioritize their time. They have been able to say God is first, our marriage is second and our relationship with our child is third. It is a constant tweaking process, a changing process. Are you objectively looking at your life? We have a lot of people here whose schedules are just wild and wacky. We have got to look objectively at our lives and prioritize. Objectivity.
The final theme that I thought about as Chris and Cass shared is the theme of accountability. You hear a lot about that these days. Every team has got to have a roster and God says that you need to be on the roster of a local church. Jesus said over and over again that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. Move from the crowd into the community and then into the core. We try to make it easy for you to get involved here.
ED: I don’t see how marriage without Christ in the center and without Christian friends make it. I traveled around the country with my teammates and I was the only Christian on the team. These guys had no concept of God, Christ, church, walking with the Lord, etc. I have spent hour after hour with them. We would eat a pre-game meal, spend hours in practice and in the weight room, etc. I spent far less time with these people on the stage than I did with my college teammates, yet I am closer. Now why is that? We have a common bond which is Jesus Christ. Now we should not just divorce ourselves from an ungodly word. The Bible says were should be salt and light. We have got to get involved in their lives. But, our best friends have to be Christian.
When you have the common bond, which is Jesus who is the author of relationships, it changes your whole relational world. Just think about some people who you know who are not Christ followers and compare that to your relationship with others who are Christian. The former pale in comparison.
OK, we are pretty much through with the interview process. They are all fabulous couples. They all have good marriages. They are not problem-free but they are wonderful. What is the take home? I want you to think about what they said. Let’s go back to Gary and Leslie. The operative word in their life happens to be creativity. We can never say that we are not creative, not innovative. That is mockery in the face of our holy God. God is the creative Creator. He has given us all creativity and we are to unleash it. He especially wants us to unleash it in the most important earthly relationship known to man, the relationship between husband and wife.
TOUCH THEIR HEART
“T” – touch their heart. Appropriate touch. Go to the gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—and see how many times Jesus touched someone.
There was a study several years ago by UCLA and they found that men and women need eight to ten meaningful touches a day. But some people are just too touchy, feely for me.
Someone came up to me the other day and they said, “Can I give you a hug for my daughter?” No! Appropriate touching—a pat on the back, a handshake. It just says, “Man, you can make it. You can do it.” It’s powerful. We have to have touch.
If you take a baby in a hospital and don’t touch it, that baby will die. We have to have touch, meaningful touch, appropriate touch. And in the marriage, guys, that’s non-sexual touching. There is such a thing, I’ve heard.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT) says, “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
It takes ten positive things to erase one negative thing. That’s why we always remember the negative stuff. It’s because of our sin nature. But, if you tell some positive stuff, it’ll take ten of those comments to erase one negative one. That’s why most of the stuff that comes out of our mouths should be positive.
So we’re talking about a construction sight. S-I-G-H-T. And if you go back through this, that’s what Jesus has done and is doing in your life and mine. Okay, does he support my uniqueness? You better believe it. Does he inspire me with responsibility? Yes! Does he give correction carefully? He disciplines those he loves. Does he hear my message? Yes. When I’m praying, when I don’t even know what to pray,
Home teams are groups of either single persons or married couples who meet at least twice a month in people’s homes around the Dallas/Ft. Worth area for casual Bible study and for getting into each other’s lives. The New Testament church is said to be a large group which met together. Some early churches had as many as 70,000 persons. But they didn’t stop there. The Bible also says that they met together corporately and then they met during the week from house to house. So it is great that we come together and worship God corporately. The Bible commands that. It is not optional. But the Bible also commands us to get involved in small groups and that is where real life change takes place. Chris tell me how the home teams have impacted your life.
CHRIS: We all know that most men do not have very deep relationships.
ED: Yes, men are basically shallow, guys. We just swim around in the baby pools of life.
CHRIS: I think that developing Christian relationships with other men is just fantastic. What happened is that I was traveling out of town for a period of time and I experienced a fairly traumatic test of faith with a family member. It was really a trying experience. I got home late at night after the dinner. I was really just shook up. I called Cass around midnight. The next phone call that I made was to our former home team leader. I shared the problem with him in an emotional way and he was a great help to me. Now if I had not built up some Christian friendships in that home team, I would not have had the support that I needed at that time.
ED: Thank you guys. Well, lets talk to our last couple. Chris and Cass Covey. When I met this couple four years ago, I though of the singer Cass. They are from California. They look like California, don’t they? Laid back, chilled out, just waiting for me to ask them a question. Tell me a little bit about your spiritual pilgrimage, how you actually came into the personal relationship with Christ. Let’s let you speak to that Cass.
CASS: OK. When we came to the Fellowship of Las Colinas a few years ago, a day-to-day walk with God was not part of my life. Chris and I were definitely seeking. We wanted something more in our lives. We enjoyed the services, but the first few months church was just a Sunday thing. There came a point when I realized that I needed to step over the line and make my faith and my walk with God an every day thing. We got more involved in the church. We joined a home team. Since the church is so big, the home team gave us close friends. At first we went reluctantly. We were not sure what was going to happen there and neither of us had much Bible knowledge. At the beginning we enjoyed it but did not have a commitment to go on a regular basis. But now, we have gotten so active we are home team leaders.
ED: Wow, that is a fast track story. A big church does allow people to come and remain anonymous and check things out. However, it is easy just to remain anonymous and not get involved. That is why we work and try to be intentional about getting people from the crowd and into the community and ultimately into the core of believers. We push our home team ministry strongly.