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Trueish - Week 2

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Well, we are so glad to have all of you at countries around the world, on the internet campus, and at all of our network churches, we are honored to partner with you, all of our LifeChurch campuses. Welcome to the second week of the series True(ish). Let me tell you, next week we wrestle with really one of the most common beliefs in the world today and that is; it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you're sincere about your beliefs. Very, very important, that will be next week. Let's start today with a scripture. We will start in Psalm 97:12, if I could get you at all our campuses to help me out with this verse. Here is what the Bible says; the bible says "May all who are godly be" what? The scripture says, "May all who are godly be happy", which is really great news because we serve such as a good and loving God and because God love so much; scripture says that God has plans to bless us and to prosper us. God has plans to give us a hope and a future. The reality is that God delights in our happiness, that God wants us to enjoy our life. Really, because of the goodness of God, the bottom line for God is that we are happy! Pause, step back, and regroup. What I just told you is absolutely and completely true(ish). Sounds true, feels true, there is a lot of truth in it, but it is not completely true. It is true(ish) and if we can be taken just ever so slightly away from truth over a lifetime, we will travel a false road that takes us to the wrong place, true(ish). What is true about what I just told you? It is true that God is a good God; it is true that God loves you; it is true that God wants to bless you and God has great plans for you, but when we start to believe under those truths that the bottom line for us is our happiness, it radically changes our position with God. Because, as we look at scripture, God is God and we are here to serve and to glorify God, but when we believe the true(ish) statement that the bottom line is that God wants us happy, it reverses the role and instead of us serving God, it makes God our servant and in effect we reduce God to a cosmic Coke machine. If we do what we are supposed to do, put the money, press the button, say the right prayer, then God has got to produce whatever we ask for to make us happy. And so, one day when we are not happy, it leaves us with the logical conclusion, if you are taking notes, if God wants me happy and I'm not then God failed, which is what so many people believe today. Well, I tried religion, well I went to church, well I tried the God thing but it didn't make me happy so either God's not real or he didn't do his job and so forget God. Because, so many people believe the true(ish) statement that the bottom line is that God wants us happy, because it just feels right. It sounds right, it seems right. The pursuit of happiness, it just feels like the right thing to do. It is true(ish). You turn on any talk show you are going to hear about how you should be happy. You go to any bookstore, you got to Amazon.com and you will find 10,635 books with the word happy in the title, because we are bombarded and without knowing it we bow down and worship the false god of happiness. It just seems right. In fact, scripture is very clear in Proverbs 14:12, the Bible says "there is a way that" what? All of our campuses, "there is a way that seems right to a man", but in the end where does it lead? Scripture says it leads to "to death". It's a little bit like the frog in the kettle. If you have ever heard the illustration, the little frog is in a pot of water and someone turns the gas on or the heat source below the pot and so the little frog is chillin' in the water, he's got his frog arms up against the deal, kind of hanging, smoking a little frog ciggy, or whatever, just chillin' and the next thing you know the water starts to warm up, he goes "whoo hoo hoo hoo, woo feel good, froggy like", you know. After awhile it gets hotter and hotter and before long it is about to start to boil, the frog's kicked back and a bubble comes up and the frog thinks, hmmm was that me?" Okay, that's not what the frog thinks, but you know bubbles start to come up and the frog goes "hoo hoo hooo I'm in a hot tub! It's a frog jacuzzi!" and internally the frog is adjusting to the temperature and before long it is boiling, the frog is kicked back, and there is a way that seems right to the frog but in the end it leads to death, right. The pursuit of happiness. It just seems right to us, it feels right. God wants us happy, doesn't he? It's true(ish) and in the end it takes us very far away from God's truth. What I want to do is I want to show you how this pursuit or theology of happiness can lead us down a very slippery and dangerous slope of beliefs. Let's just walk through six thoughts rather slowly and kind of let's absorb what happens when we believe, the bottom line is happiness. If you are taking notes, the first thing is this: Without a belief, an absolute truth, truth is defined by whatever makes me what? Whatever makes me happy; because we live in a world today where there is really two big oppositional thoughts. There is relativism and there is subjectivism. What is relativism? It is belief, the assumption that there is no such thing as absolute truth. Truth is not constant. Truth evolves, what used to be wrong may be not wrong anymore, what used to be right may be wrong today. There is no such thing as absolute truth, it is not the constant. There is subjectivism. What did we learn subjectivism was last week? It is the belief that I the subject have the right to determine what is right or wrong without submitting my judgment to any authority outside myself, since there is no absolute truth, what is true to you may not be true to me, so I am not going to submit myself to your truth. Don't impose your truth on me, that couldn't be the case for me, that may be right for you but it's not right for me. So, without a belief in absolute truth, truth is defined by whatever makes me "happy", which leads me to the next belief; when the bottom line is my happiness, happiness becomes the standard by which I judge my actions. If my wife isn't making me "happy" and there's this other girl at work who makes me "happy", then whatever I do is justified because the bottom line is my happiness. If I believe that more money and more things will make me "happy" and then however I pursue more money and things, rather it is right or wrong; rather you think it is wrong, it's not wrong because the bottom line for me is happiness. Happiness allows me to justify whatever I do in pursuit of happiness because that is the bottom line, which leads me to believe that whatever makes me "happy" must be right, since there is no such thing as absolute truth, whatever makes "me" happy must be truth and it must be right. Sheryl Crow even sang a song with the lyrics, "If it makes you happy it can't be that bad" and I would sing that for you, but if I sang it for you it would not make you "happy" and that therefore would be bad. If it makes me "happy" it must be right, which leads us to believe since God wants me "happy", anything that doesn't make me "happy" must be bad, if it doesn't make me happy that must be bad, which leads me to believe that any kind of discomfort, any kind of delay, any kind of risk, any kind of suffering, any kind of inconveniences and obstacles can't possibly be God's will. And, before long, as I walk down this trail that seems right, that feels right, that's True(ish) in the pursuit of happiness without knowing it, I begin to worship the false God's of comfort, money, pleasure, and things. Why? Because of the true(ish) statement, God wants me happy and that is the bottom line, isn't it. What I want to do today is I want to take a step back and I want to make a very bold and very countercultural statement; and this goes against really what many of us have been taught and lead to believe and we just absorbed this cultural true(ish) philosophy throughout life. Tell you that God doesn't want you happy, in at least three different ways in your life. God doesn't want you happy under these three different categories. The first one, if you are taking notes, is this: God doesn't want you happy when it causes you do something wrong or unwise. God doesn't want you happy when it causes you to do something sinful or something just stupid. I will give you an example. My youngest child of six is Rebecca Joy, we call her Jo Jo, and she is four years old. We were at a friend's Life Group party and my friend has the all time coolest zip line you have ever seen. It is a zip line on steroids; it is the big mama of zip lines. If you do not what a zip line is, it is this line that is taut between two trees, you get on this thing and you hang on for your life. Bzzzzzzz, you fly, it is like so fast, and we told the kids unless you are 12 years old you can't get on the zip line or you could die. Well, the little kids wanted to get on it and at the end of the day, when we weren't really paying attention, one of the slightly older kids put Joy, who is four, up on the zip line and we looked up and there Joy was hanging on with the biggest smile you've ever seen. Wheeee, whee, her hair, wheee, whoo hoo, and because she was so small she couldn't stop herself and she went face first into the tree, smack. The thud, I mean it was just sickening, and she dropped and she was out cold and it busted, there is blood everywhere, it busted her mouth, her chin, and I took her to the emergency room. We had to do stitches all up here and we had to do double layers of stitches in here. We had to close it first and then close the outside and it was everywhere and she was coming in and out of consciousness, it is just a brutal illustration. But, it shows what so many of us do. We are going through life, whee this is fun, and this is making me happy and then boom there is a way that seems right but in the end it leads to death. God doesn't want you "happy" when we are doing something wrong, so that we may even enjoy the moment or something unwise. I just want to say, I believe wholeheartedly that God does delight when we enjoy things within his will. But, when we step out of his will in pursuit of happiness that is never God's highest or best. Scripture is very, very clear. In 1 Peter 1:15, speaking of God, scripture says "but just as he who called you is happy so be happy in all you do", but I messed that up. But, you see, that is kind of what many of us believe. Scripture said "just as he who called you as" what? "Just as he who called you as holy be holy in all you do". Happiness doesn't trump holiness in God's spiritual economy. I had a conversation with a guy and honestly it is about the four millionth time I've had a similar conversation in my years as a pastor, I've bumped into a guy at the grocery store and years ago, I did his premarital counseling, did his wedding. I was "dude, how you doing, man I haven't seen you", I gave him a big hug and we are talking and I said "hey, how's your family doing, how's your marriage?" and he just immediately kind of, you could tell, was embarrassed and he's like "aww man", he said, "we ended up getting divorced". My heart just sank because, you know, you've seen what divorce does and how painful that is. I said "I don't mean to pry, but you know, what happened?" And he said, "well, you know, I mean we just, I mean we just weren't happy. I mean, she wasn't making me happy, I wasn't happy" and I just listened to that and I thought you know I've heard this a billion times, we just weren't happy so we divorced. In my heart, I just wanted to say, "dude don't you remember we sat in my office and we talked about a covenant before God and we went through it very specifically. These are the promises you are going to make to God. For better or for worse, not as long as you make me happy and my point is not to make many of you feel guilty in this pool of tremendous guilt because you did something similar. As much as is it to show that when we believe happiness is the bottom line, what that theology does is it gives us permission to something that would otherwise be wrong. If doing this makes me happy, then even though it's wrong it must be okay because that's what God wants, isn't it. Its happiness and this line of thinking can be seen in so many different ways. I mean, it is very simple; it is just like I know I shouldn't eat that cake but that cake makes me happy. I'm eating the cake, I'm eating the whole thing, and I know I shouldn't but it makes me happy. You know, you go to a store, you're shopping online and you discover something that you need, you know what I am talking about. You didn't know you needed it until you saw it and then you are like I need that. But, you are in debt because you have already bought many things that you didn't need until you saw it. But you bought things you didn't need, with money you didn't have, to impress people you didn't even like and so you are in financial bondage, but you need this thing you just saw. So, even though you don't have the money you go into more debt to get this thing you just discovered that you needed. Or, it could be that you are dating somebody and you are like, "yeah I know, I heard something in church about you know not having sex until you're married and I think the Bible says something about that, but hey God has got to understand. I mean, like I'm a dude and you know I got my needs and you know I like to junga, junga and it makes me feel good and it makes me happy. And so I know we probably shouldn't do this, but we are going to get married anyway. The bottom line is this makes me happy. It could happen in someone's marriage. You know what, she's not meeting my needs and she's not making me happy and so there's this other girl that you know she will. You know, I mean, so I look at some things that I shouldn't look at. You know, if she would meet my needs and make me happy I wouldn't have to do that, but it is what I have to do because it, you know, this makes me happy. I know there's a show on TV that, you know I know it is probably not one of the best shows. Because, you know I am a Christian and it is probably not one of God's top ten favorite shows because it has got some bad stuff in it. You know, it's kind of crude, but you know I like it,-I mean it's my deal. You know, I enjoy it, I know I shouldn't but I do. Because I worship at the altar of happiness. If it makes me happy it gives me permission to do something that otherwise would be wrong. God doesn't want you happy when it causes you to do something that would be sinful or unwise. Stop using that for an excuse, it is pathetic in the sight of God. Second time God doesn't want you happy is he doesn't want you happy when it's only based on the things in this world. He doesn't want you happy when it's only based on the things in the world. For example, last night I was watching TV and I found out that I cannot be happy without an Ab-Cruncher, a 110-piece knife set and a blanket with holes in it so I can put my arms through it. I mean, I have been going through life with this deep sense of void, there has got to be more something more and it's that blanket. I mean if I had that blanket I could be happy. And so, we end up believing this formula I am about to share with you. Now, nobody states out loud this is what I believe. Nobody is going to state what I am about to say. But, our actions clearly communicate that this is what we believe. Our actions say this is our belief system and here is the formula. Here is what we believe, by our actions. Better possessions, plus peaceful circumstances, plus thrilling experiences, plus the right relationships, plus the perfect appearance equals happiness. Better possessions, whatever it is, newer, shinier, faster, bigger, smaller, whatever it is, if I have that whatever I don't have, I will be happy. Peaceful circumstances, I can't have conflict you see. If my job, I don't like it, I need a different job, got a tough boss, I'm going to quit this job before I get a new job. Which people do it all that all the time, which makes me crazy, but I have got to have peaceful circumstances. Thrilling experiences. Whatever it is, the vacation, the quick hit, the party scene, the nice restaurants, whatever the experiences. The right relationships, that means you have to make me happy and because happiness is my bottom line, if you don't meet my needs and if you don't make me happy you are expendable because happiness is my bottom line. The perfect appearance, whatever it is, if something's too puffy flatten it out. If somethings too big, cut it away. If somethings too small, why are my hands here? If you need the wardrobe, whatever it is. And if we can get all these things of the world in line, what we believe is the things of the world will make us happy. Own the fact that by the way most of us live we believe that the things of the world will make us happy. When scripture says in 1 John 2:15, and following, do not what? Say it aloud, do not love the world or anything in the world because if anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. Let that sink in will ya, let that pierce you as it pierces me. Read on, scripture says "for everything in the world, the cravings of sinful man", gotta have it "the lust of his eyes", oh did you see that, "the boosting of what he has", have you seen how good my backside looks in these jeans. All these things they do not come from the father but they come from the world and the world and his desires, what do they do? The world and his desires they pass away, but the one who does the will of God lives forever. The things of the world, don't be fooled, God may bless you with some. I mean, God gives wealth, he does. God blesses people materially. He doesn't mind you having nice things, he doesn't want nice things to have you. When you believe those will provide happiness, you have settled for a counterfeit, it is a counterfeit. It is a little bit like this, my wife sent me to the grocery store to get a few things and there are two rules for any man who goes to the grocery, any man, and its man rules. Rule number one is, you got to forget something or get the wrong thing, and it is just a rule. The second thing is you have got to get something that wasn't on the list because you are a hunter and that's what you do, you hunt and you kill and drag things home. So, I always get something wrong because it is a rule and then I always get something extra. So, I was walking by the little sale thing at the front and there was this crab dip for $3.99. I thought when I was in a restaurant it was like $9.00 for crab stuff and I never bought that because it is $9.00. $3.99 a big thing, I'm buying it. Glory to God and Heaven on high this stuff is on sale. So I came home to our life, people were eating the crab dip and all of my buddies looking at me going this is the most disgusting thing I've ever had and I'm like you're right this is nasty and they are like what's the deal. I said, I don't know its crab meat, it's $3.99. We looked at the fine print and the fine print said made with imitation crab meat, which is one of the scariest things I've ever read in my life. Because, what do you think imitation crab meat is? I don't know but I don't want anymore. It's an imitation, it's not the real thing. To think that the things in this world will make you happy, you're settling for a cheap imitation of the real thing, you see. God does not want you happy when it causes you to do something wrong or unwise. God does not want you happy when it's based on just the things of this world. God does not want you happy, number three, and this is what I love he wants you something even better, God wants you blessed. God wants you not happy as much as God wants you blessed. In fact, the original word in the original language as translated as blessed is the word macarius. There is a song where it goes da dun dun da dun dun da dun dun da dun ta dun da, da dun dun da dun dun da dun dun da dun ta dun da, come on work with me, this makes me happy, I do this all weekend, it has got to give me something me to make me happy. This is how it could be translated, this word. It means, supremely blessed or it means more than happy. Check that out, God wants you more than happy. Here's the deal, happiness is based on happenings and happenings are not always good. Blessings are based on more than happenings. It is something beyond the things of this world. In fact, I like what scripture says, in Psalm 112:1, "blessed is the man more than happy" is the person who does what. "More than happy is the one who fears the Lord". Not, more than happy is the one who does something wrong in the pursuit of happiness. Not more than happy is the one who settles for the cheap imitation of the things of this world, but more than happy is the one who fears the Lord, who finds great delights in his command. More than happy. It is not just happy based on happenings, it's more than that. For example, how many of you, all of our campuses, were here during the series "30 Days to Live". Do you remember the series "30 Days to Live"? A bunch of you were. One of the ladies we talked was Stacy McCall, if you remember. She was my age, had cancer and this last week Stacy passed away and yesterday I was part of her funeral. I'm telling you there is nothing happy about that. 40 years old, beautiful, talented, Mom, wife, couple of the most precious little girls, there is not a thing that is humanly happy about that. But, here is what I want you to know, that at this funeral there was something that was truly more than happy. There was this impossible to explain, unless you are a believer and you were there, sense that in the middle of human tragedy there is the almost tangible goodness of God. It's in the middle of loss, this divine comfort and there is this supernatural peace that transcends our human ability to understand. It is more than happy, it's more than happiness based on the things of this world. I will explain it this way. Max Lucado asked the question, he said "would a fish on the beach be happy"? The answer is "no", why? Because the fish on the beach would be going like this, _____ and his little gill will be doing this, hack, hack, hack, hack and then he would go flop. That was him flopping, trying to get free, and that is the best flop I've got, but it is just a gasping. Now imagine this unhappy fish, imagine we gave him what we wanted, and saw we gave him a big load of money, is he happy? Gasp, gasp, he's not happy. What if we said we are going to give you a vacation fishy. He's a beach chair and some sunglasses, sit back and enjoy the beach, is he happy? Gasppp. Let's imagine we gave him a Corona and a Playfish magazine, is he happy? And the answer is maybe for a moment, it is a Corona and he is checking out, "look at the tail on that fish, wooo, hoo look at that". But after that, gasppp, gasp, right? Why is here not happy, because he wasn't made for the beach. Why is it that you're not happy in whatever you pursue. Because you are not made for this world. You will hurt. You will never find happiness in the temporary things of this world because you weren't made to live a temporary life! Lower your expectations of earth, it's not heaven, it wasn't meant to be! Lower them. No new whatever, new car, new house, new living room furniture, new kitchen appliances, no new look, no new husband, no new baby, no new vacation, no new job, no new income, it's not going to satisfy because you were not made for the things of this world. If you think it is, you're believing a true(ish) statement that's taking you away from the very one who can bring something that is more than happiness and it's only when you truly believe that, that you'll let go of the things that you hold on to so tightly. That's when you'll experience the goodness of, you'll turn off the TV, you'll walk away from the computer, you'll walk out of the store and you'll realize there is something that is more than happiness, it is called the blessings of God and it is more blessed to give than it is to receive. You will let of your materialistic grip on the things of this world and you'll realize that more than happy blessed are the peacemakers and blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and you'll find true blessings in the things of good because you were not created to live for things of this world. That's when it all changes. At the beginning of this message I gave you a verse and I used it purposefully in kind of a deceiving way, I didn't give you all of the verse. I want to end where we started with all of the verse, he is what scripture says. Psalm 97:12, "May all who are Godly be happy", that's what we read earlier, but let's read the verse in its entirety. "May all who are Godly be happy" how? Scripture sure "be happy in the Lord and praise his holy name". Under the banner of relativism and subjectivism many people believe that happiness is the bottom line, that is a true(ish) belief, it will take you away from the true joy and blessings you can find in the Lord. "May all who are Godly be happy in the Lord God and praise his holy name". All of our campuses praying together. "God would you just clean us out of the false beliefs that are so easy for us to embrace." All of our campuses, as you are praying, I'm going to ask you a two-fold questions. I want you to ask yourself, how many of you know someone who is justifying doing something wrong in the pursuit of happiness? This is the first part of the question. The next part, how many of you know someone, that by their lifestyle, their communicating, that they will find happiness in the things of the world. If you know someone in either of these categories will you raise your hands right now. All of our campuses, raise your hands up, every hand is going up, if it is not you're simply just not paying attention. We all know somebody like that. Next question, I want you to ask those questions to yourself. How many of you, how many of you are justifying something unwise or something sinful because you believe it's going to make you happy. How many of you, by the way you live, you are pursuing happiness in the things of this world. You are not happy and you are pursuing more and more and you say, by my actions that is what I believe, would you raise your hands right now. What I want you to do right now, as you are praying, I want you to feel the weight of this, because man I do, and I have in my heart a deep sorrow for the false beliefs that I live under every day, and God is just cleaning me out and I just see it and it's so sad. I mean, when I'm close to God I don't desire anything in this world and I am free, I'm generous. Then when I drift from God I desire more and more of the world and when I desire more and more, God just seems to get farther and farther away. Right now, where you are, just repent of any sin, just before God tell him you are sorry and as you are repenting, on behalf of God, I just want to say you are forgiven because God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins as we confess them before him. I just want to pray on behalf of all of us, God clean us out, we just acknowledge the false beliefs and the sinful actions and the worldliness and the materialism and ask God that somehow, by the power of your Holy Spirit, that happiness would not be the goal but holiness, as we are lead by your spirits and empowered by your grace. God, I pray that whenever we are going to pursue something that is not from you and under the false banner of happiness, that you will convict us and that you would change us God. Make us as a church more like your son Jesus. God we pray and believe that you will. All of our campuses, as you keep praying today. Let me just tell you in advance, you are here on a divine appointment by God, to find what you have been searching for, because you have been searching for a long time. You've thought something else, there is something else out there that will bring satisfaction and meaning in your life. You thought it was the new job, the different job, the different location, the different salary, the better house, the better car, the better boyfriend, the better husband, kids, getting kids out your house, the trip, more time off, the drug, the better drug, the sex, the better sexual experience. You have been searching and you have been searching and no matter what you find and no matter what you get, you're still empty because you weren't created for the beach, you're not created for this world. You are created for the kingdom that is to come. Your sin, it separates you from a Holy God, it confuses everything, and that is why when God sent his son Jesus, Jesus was born of a virgin without sin, that's why he could be the sinless sacrifice for us on the cross. He took our sins, he died with it, God raised him from the dead and now you have access to know God, to be forgiven by God to be changed by God through the life, the death and the resurrection of Jesus. You can't earn it, you don't deserve it, you accept the free gift, but it takes faith to believe that he's enough. Scripture says, when you seek first the kingdom of God, seek first, not the things of this world. When you seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness everything else will be added to you. There are those of you that God brought here for this moment. Some of you, you thought you were questions for a long time but you know what, no. Today is the day Jesus is becoming first in every way. Lord, Savior, you're becoming a disciple of His. You fine meaning, life, truth in Him, not in the things of the world, in Him. Jesus take all of my life. I surrender it to you, that's you're prayer today at all of our campuses. Would you lift your hands high right now, just right now. Lift them up, leave them up and I want to meet you eye-to-eye. Back here in this back section, one, two, three, four, five, six of you right back here, God bless all of you. Sir, right over there, praise God for you. Man up her, I believe it, see it in your eyes. Ma'am right back over here. I want to see you, I want to acknowledge you. Both of you right here together, praise God for you. Over here, on this side, both of you right here, right there, ever here as well, God bless you guys. Others of you call on his name, Jesus transform me, I surrender to you right now. You take every bit of it, it is long longer about me, it's all about You. Would you pray, all of you together, just aloud. Pray, heavenly father take every bit of my life, forgive me for all my sins and Jesus make me new. Fill me with your holy spirit so I could live for you. My life is not my own, it now belongs to you. Thank you for new life, now you have mine, in Jesus name I pray. All of our campuses will you just let it rip. Worship God, worship is good; there is no life in Christ.

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Duration: 35 minutes and 27 seconds
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Posted by: lifechurchopen on Jul 7, 2010

Trueish

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